Sunday, November 3, 2013


It's been a couple of days now since the shootings at Terminal Three. Things at LAX are, for the most part, getting back to normal. A few media satellite trucks still remain, but at least on the outside, it's business as usual. Friday was an absolute mess. Hundreds of flights were cancelled, and pretty much all the rest were delayed -- sometimes for many hours. Despite the nation-wide ground stop that was announced, there were thousands of LAX-bound passengers already in the air. Some flights were diverted to other airports, but there were still dozens of airplanes on the ground at LAX with no place to go. Taxiways were closed to make room to park airplanes from around the world. Some of those planes had to wait over four hours before making it to a gate.

In the wake of the shooting, the airport was closed to all street traffic. Both of the adjacent interstate highways became choked with cars that were unable to exit because all the airport exits were closed. Surface streets were also completely jammed. Stranded passengers were allowed to walk out of the airport, but no one was allowed in -- and that included flight crews. A number of the airplanes sitting on gates couldn't leave because their flight crews were not able to get onto the airport. Meanwhile, arriving airplanes were expecting to park at these same occupied gates. There were several instances I personally saw in which more than one airplane was waiting for the same occupied gate. We had all three ground control positions open all afternoon, and all three were talking non-stop, trying to get any airplane with an open gate to their terminal, while juggling many more with no available gate. 

About seven hours after the shooting occurred, foot traffic was allowed to enter the terminal area. It was some time after that before vehicle traffic resumed. It will probably take most of the weekend for the airlines to get their planes and crews back to where they're supposed to be.

Terminal Three

Terminals Two (left) and One

The 105 freeway parking lot

Possibly the hardest-hit airline was Virgin America, the primary operator at Terminal Three. I think nearly all of their LAX flights were cancelled. At least four of their aircraft ended up on the Atlantic Aviation ramp.

The incoming wave of pedestrian traffic

For many passengers, this corner of Century and Sepulveda was as close as they could get. Taxis were dropping their fares here.


  1. This was something that I worried about when TsA had me working light duty as an exit monitor. Who was there to stop someone who had the intention to cause harm? We had no training. I didn't work much at 3 but I was at 2 for many many hours shooing people out of the exit lane, and hoping against hope that no one took offense. 3's security set up is poorly set up. Someone comes off the elevator at the departure level and has a straight shot into the lanes. Not to mention the snake lanes that go off to the side. I grieve for the loss of the officer. I grieve for the families whose lives are never going to be the same. The people who broke the security alarmed doors and ran for mad down the tarmac.
    There for the grace of God, could have ben any one of us. I may not like the TsA but I don't wish anything like this for anyway. Its time to focus on the soft targets and see that anyone at anytime could cause a great deal of havoc before they even reached a MAG or a BWS.
    Thanks for the post. (I am also glad that my dr.'s appt at Kerlan Jobe for Friday got cancelled or I would have been stuck on Sepulveda).

  2. This was all wrought by one man. How fragile our society seems. Most surprising to me was the third photo,
    the 105 'parking lot'. This shows the impact on surface transport.

    In news about this event, it was reported that passengers in Terminal 3 ran onto the ramp. What happened to them?

    On the Altlantic ramp pic, I presume the Qatar behind the two Gulfstreams is a charter or government flight. Is the Delta plane also an A320 or A319? Presumably, it's an ex-NW plane.
    On the right we see an all white Airbus A330 (I think I identified that one correctly). Can you tell us something about that? No windows are visible, so it could be a freighter, but that can be an artifact of lighting.

    I must admit, though, that the two last pictures made me smile! Everybody knows it's illegal to walk in L.A.!


    1. The passengers that ran out onto the ramp were sheltered in Terminals One and Two; it was a day or two before they were allowed to reclaim their bags and such abandoned when they fled.

      The Delta on the Atlantic ramp is an A319, formerly Northwest. Delta uses A319s for sports team charters, and these usually park at Atlantic; I have seen them with more than one A319 parked at Atlantic.

      The A330-200 is a periodic visitor to LAX; it actually has a brownish-gold band around the fuselage, aft of the cockpit. Pretty sure it's not a freighter; If I remember correctly, it flies for Amiri.