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From LAX to Union station

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Trowbridge, United...
posts: 43
reviews: 37
From LAX to Union station


In October we would like to fly back from Hawaii to LAX landing at 16.32 and then get the Amtrak to Flagstaff leaving Union Station at 18.15, is this even going to be possible?



Anaheim, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
posts: 24,255
reviews: 13
1. Re: From LAX to Union station

It would be possible in most cases (can't predict flight delays). I would get a taxi so you can go directly to Union Station. If you had more time, I would look into using the LAX Flyaway bus.

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
posts: 15,157
reviews: 58
2. Re: From LAX to Union station

The main options are the FlyAway bus and taxi, as mentioned above. There is shared van service but this is not likely to work in your time frame. Even FlyAway bus is doubtful as it only runs every half hour - if you miss the bus you'd likely not make it, as the bus will take 45-60 minutes to Union Station at that time (assuming this is a weekday - if its the weekend, probably 30 minutes or so).

It may be best to plan to spend the night in LA and then get the train the next day, because, honestly, you're going to have less than 2 hours to deplane, collect your luggage, make your way to the ground transportation area, then taxi/bus all the way across town to Union Station, then (assuming you purchased your train in advance) make your way to the platform for your train and board. I think this *might* be possible but would be cutting it very close, and any unexpected hiccup (flight delay, heavier than expected traffic between LAX and Union Station) and you'll miss the train.

West Hollywood...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
posts: 26,289
reviews: 55
3. Re: From LAX to Union station

You won't make it.

1. Flights from HI are on jumbo jets. It can take 20 to 30 minutes just to deplane from one of these aircraft. They typically pull up to gates at the very end of the concourse so that means that you and your luggage are far from baggage claim when you land.

2. Visitors to HI have lots of luggage. They take surfboards and dogs in kennel crates, for example. It can easily take 20 to 30 minutes to get your luggage.

So, if it takes 20 minutes to deplane, 10 minutes to walk to baggage claim, and 20 minutes to retrieve your luggage, you'll be at the taxi queue at 17:12. If it's NOT a weekday, you'll make it to Union Station in about 30 minutes. It's now 17:42. You enter the station, find the display board with all of the trains listed (a 40 second walk straight on, on your right just before the tunnel to the tracks). You find the track number, walk down the tunnel, climb the stairs to the track, walk across the platform and you're on the train at approximately 17:50.

Sounds great, right?

But, if it's a weekday instead of a weekend day, the taxi ride will take closer to 50 minutes which would put you on the platform about to step onto the train at 18:10 (only 5 minutes before departure).

The estimates I used for the deplaning time and the time it will take to retrieve your luggage were at the low end of their respective ranges. What if you're in a seat that's far from the door of the plane? You luggage is stuck behind lots of surfboards or dog kennels?

What if the plane is 15 or 20 minutes late in arriving? At this exact moment, I've checked the status of Delta Flight 1150 (the flight I assume you plan on taking) and it's 27 minutes behind schedule. If you were flying today, you wouldn't make your train.

Overall, DL 1150 has an average late arrival of only 8 minutes but with only a 25 minute layover time at Union Station (in the best of conditions), losing 8 minutes reduces the layover time to just 17 minutes.

The last time I flew in from HI, our plane stood on the tarmac for 15 minutes waiting for our gate to become available. (The average 'landing time' is the time that the plane 'touches down'; it's not the time it arrives at the gate).

And what if there's a long taxi queue? There is another jumbo jet (from Minnesota) arriving at terminal 5 within 8 minutes of the arrival time of your proposed flight. Many of those passengers will be queuing up for taxis as well.

Did you plan to get a 'sleeper room' on the train or sit up in standard seats? If the latter, the cost of the room for two persons will be about $300. For just $20 more, per person, you can fly to Flagstaff (depart LAX terminal #1 on US Airways at 5:55 pm, arrive Flagstaff at 8:39 pm (over 8 hours sooner than the train). Of course, you'd need to pay for overnight accommodations but Flagstaff is inexpensive, relatively-speaking and you'll have a much better sleep than on the train.

Transferring from your Delta Flight to the US Airways flight to PHX and then onto FLG will also have its challenges since the LAX layover would only be 1 hour, 23 minutes and you'd have to transfer from terminal 5 (Delta) to Terminal 1 (US Airways).

I just noticed something interesting. You can book HNL to PHX (Phoenix) on Delta and you'll be on the same flight to LAX (flight #1150, arriving at LAX at 4:32 pm). Then, Delta connects you to their flight #4796 to PHX, departing at 6:45 pm and arriving in PHX at 8:26 pm. So, you would have about a 2 hour layover at LAX but, the good news is...

The fare for the flights to PHX is the same as the flight from HNL to LAX so, in reality, you get a free flight to PHX! When you arrive in PHX, there are no more onward flights to FLG in the evening so you'd need to stay overnight in PHX but that will give you some advantages:

1. You'll get a full night's sleep in a hotel bed.

2. You can spend the evening in Phoenix

3. In the morning, you have several options:

a. US Airways has a 1 hour flight to Flagstaff at 8:50 a.m.

b. Greyhound.com (the national bus company) has an 11:40 a.m. departure from their depot in downtown Phoenix which arrives in Flagstaff in about 3 hours.

c. You could hire a car (my choice) and drive through the desert. Here's a map with random starting and ending points:


The drive simply consists of heading north on Interstate 117 for 2 hours. Easy!

posts: 394
reviews: 16
4. Re: From LAX to Union station

Wow, cant believe the OP didnt come back on to say thank you for that amazing, detailed response. I will say thank you because I have just found it very helpful! So thanks hopskipjump

West Hollywood...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
posts: 26,289
reviews: 55
5. Re: From LAX to Union station

Thanks, Trixie.

Trowbridge, United...
posts: 43
reviews: 37
6. Re: From LAX to Union station

Hmmm, I wonder why i did not get notifications that there was replies.trixie is right, thankyou very much. Helps with my plans perfectly, now to start the process of booking hotels and my Vancouver,Seattle, san fran parts of the trips


West Hollywood...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
posts: 26,289
reviews: 55
7. Re: From LAX to Union station

Glad to help.

8. Re: From LAX to Union station

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