The United LAX Renovation – $500 Million Doesn’t Get You Much

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united lax renovation
A rendering of the new customer screening space at LAX. United is investing $573 million to refresh nearly all of its customer-facing space at LAX. (PRNewsFoto/United Airlines)

United’s $500 Million LAX Renovation

United Airlines announced today that they are going to spend $500 million to revamp their terminal in Los Angeles International Airport. Among the changes are an expanded/renovated United Club and a revamped ticket lobby and screening area.

Here is how they describe the changes in their press release:

Upon arriving at LAX, United customers will step foot into an expansive ticketing lobby that incorporates the latest self-service tools such as self-tagging baggage kiosks. These intuitive technologies, along with an improved security screening checkpoint, will enable travelers to move quickly and efficiently from curb to gate.

United’s new-look terminals and gate areas will feature a modern design with relaxed and inviting spaces, including a variety of comfortable seating options and abundant charging stations for customers’ electronic devices. United Club members will also enjoy the airline’s new, expanded Terminal 7 lounge where they can work or relax in style while taking in spectacular views of the airfield from the club’s outdoor terrace. Located atop the terminal, the exclusive terrace offers United Club members additional respite from the hustle and bustle of their travel day.

united lax renovation
A rendering of the new United Club terrace at LAX. United is investing $573 million to refresh nearly all of its customer-facing space at LAX. (PRNewsFoto/United Airlines)

Analysis

This is part of the expected $7 billion that is being spent to renovate LAX. All of that money and they don’t even have a true airside connection (they have tunnels), but at least they will sort of eventually get a Metro stop. If only the airport could be leveled and a new mega terminal or two built in its place. Something tells me that would cost less than $7 billion.

Getting back to United, this seems like a decent enough plan from the renderings, but I wonder where the $500 million is going. Renovated gates and an expanded ticket lobby are nice, but that is a lot of money. I guess they are spending it on the Club and/or are really gutting the terminal building.

Conclusion

LAX continues to see investment to improve and bring its terminals up to modern standards, but the airport is still one of the least pleasant to fly through. Hopefully these changes will help United strengthen its position at the space strapped airport where all of the three major carriers fight for business.


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