Los Angeles is a difficult city to navigate without a car, but it’s something those on a budget need to manage one way or another.
Arriving at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) is the first step in that navigation. How do you get out of there as quickly as humanly possible?
Before LAX-it and Uber/Lyft came into the picture, I generally jumped into one of the SuperShuttle services, where you join others trying to save a bit of money getting from the airport to their destination. But these days, expediting my voyage will often be the FlyAway bus. A service that will take you express from LAX to either Union Station or Van Nuys.
The service is not dissimilar to what is offered at Melbourne International Airport. In fact, it’s pretty much the same thing – just cheaper.
Arriving at Terminal 2, I was one of the first to board the bus, though it took less than 20 minutes to pick up passengers at the remaining terminals. Get unlucky with the Shuttle buses mentioned and you could be looking at two round trips of LAX before your car fills up and you get out of there. Then there’s also the chance you take of being the last to depart the bus. I’ve been in circumstances where it took some three hours to get to a place a taxi would have taken 20 minutes to get to. Though the shuttle remains an affordable option, you sometimes have to remind yourself that, when travelling, your time is valuable…
That said, the FlyAway service isn’t going to suit every traveller. They only head to two destinations (it wasn’t long ago they went to four!). However, at $9.75 and a guaranteed direct route, it’s certainly one of the most affordable, and reliable ways to get your journey started. The service tends to come every half an hour.
Staying in Easy LA, I jumped on the $9.75 express to Union Station, which wasn’t too far from my final destination.
The trip to Union Station took a little under 40 minutes, keeping in mind this was at 4pm when traffic does start building up, though in peak traffic it may take longer.
The payment system has changed recently, and signs at LAX now encourage you to download an app and pay for your journey in advance through it. However, you don’t have to do this, and can tap on with your credit card when you board the service. Apple Pay and Google Pay work, as well as Visa/Mastercard, Credit or Debit.
Once at Union Station, I jumped in a short Uber to my final destination.
In the end, my ride cost $16, still making it – combined with the FlyAway fee – a cheaper voyage than the SuperShuttle (which starts at $19), and though it’s hard to say how long a SuperShuttle would have definitely taken, this is likely to have been the quickest alternative.
If you’re not close to Union Station, another option is changing at Union station to one of the train lines, if you’re lucky enough to be staying near a station. And with newer lines like the Expo Line – and more expansions to come (including to LAX itself), this will be the case for more and more destinations in the city.
Note that I didn’t provide myself with the local bus network as a transport option. I’ve been there, done that, and travelling on LA public transport with baggage is a nightmare. Avoid the experience at all costs. Once you have dropped your bags off at your destination, however, the LA Metro bus & rail network is fairly extensive – and if your origin and destination are lucky enough to be on one of the few subway lines that run through the city, they are both quick, affordable ($1.75 a ride) and reliable. The buses are famously not the same, though they remain as affordable, and you can now pay with TAP card, Apple Wallet, TAP app or cash.
FlyAway also serves Van Nuys, and runs 24 hours a day.
All information was correct at the time this article was originally published, with all prices in USD. Visit https://www.flylax.com/flyaway-bus for all the current costings, timetables and additional information.