Posted by: hoz49 | February 13, 2008

Overnight camping at LA International Airport

First let me say I don’t recommend this, but if you’re a frugal and adventurous traveler you can spend the night at the Tom Bradley International Terminal. It won’t be the best experience, but it can be done.

Our United into LA about 45 minutes too late. Freezing weather  delayed our take off by an hour and a half. We touched down in LA at 12:30 am and our connecting flight for Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific was to leave at 12:30. We probably passed each other on the tarmac.

Fe and I hurriedly collected our carry ons and headed out to the street. LA has a shuttle bus that will take passengers around the terminal to the different carriers but with the wait and stop and go it is faster to just hike to your destination.

We arrived at Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) about 1:00 am and all the counters were closed. We had no idea when the next flight to Hong Kong would be but were determined to be on it if possible. I suggested we find a quiet corner and just spend the night.

I had done some research on the “Sleeping in Airports” website and knew there are some carpeted areas at each end of the food court level. The rest of the terminal has hard terrazzo floors. We didn’t look forward to a cold night sleeping on concrete. Fe and I headed upstairs and made a right.

The first thing we noticed was the noise from jackhammers and the sounds of a construction crew. They were remodeling half of the terminal and evidently work all night. This wasn’t going to be easy…

We passed several metal lath benches that would be OK for laying down flat but these were already taken. At the end of the hall I could see the carpeted area with low level lighting so we stayed the course for that, only to be disappointed when we saw the cleaning crew were washing the carpet and had the area roped off.

Fe and I ended up sitting on a padded bench chair with our feet propped up all night. It got quite chilly and we covered ourselves with the sleeping bag liners I had packed for just this eventuality. Needless to say we didn’t get much sleep, with the pounding, tearing down of scaffolds, and the construction crew just doing their thing, constructing.

LA International Airport Fe with 4 am coffee.

The next morning we were first in line at the Cathay Pacific counter and got our tickets reissued for the first flight out to Hong Kong at 10 am and our connecting flight to Cebu.

As for spending the night in LA I’d give TBIT a D. The guards and cleaning people don’t hassle you. But it isn’t the most conducive to a good nights sleep.



  1. Hi Hoz. Hey, nice blog. I like the kayaking and the fotos.

    When we went we flew United from Sacramento CA to LAX to transfer to Cathay Pacific also. Man, what a run down, dirty terminal that was. It certainly needs remodeling. And you’re right about Hong Kong. Beautiful airport. For me, being in Cebu Mactan International Airport is the best because that means I’m back in Cebu.

    Keep bloggin’ my friend. I’ll put you on my blog roll and hope you get some more hits.


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