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I'm planning to visiting LA soon and will need to use public transit to/from the airport. The place I'm staying is on the Antelope Valley Metrolink line, so it looks like the best way to get to the airport will be via Los Angeles Union Station. It looks like I have two options:

  1. Union Station FlyAway
    • Cost: $7.00
    • Travel time: 30-50 minutes
    • Span: 24 hour service
    • Frequency: every 30 minutes during the day, every hour 1-5AM
  2. Metro (looks like silver + green line is the best since it'd require the least transfers)
    • Cost: $3.95
    • Travel time: about 60 minutes
    • Span: service from 4AM to midnight
    • Frequency: every 15 minutes (weekday off peak)

I'll just have a carry-on, so transfers shouldn't be too much trouble. I have an early morning flight, so I can't allow too much buffer time. I do want the option that'll get me there quickly and easily, but reliability is an issue as well.

Will my FlyAway get snarled in traffic on my way to the airport? Am I better off taking metro instead then? It'd save me a bit of money and depending on the schedules could be faster (assuming 50 minutes ride on FlyAway plus 30 minute wait vs 60 minute on metro + 15 minutes wait).

Could anyone comment from experience whether morning FlyAways are too much of a gamble with traffic when trying to catch a morning flight?

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Note that the Metro doesn't go directly to the airport, so you need to catch a shuttle bus from Aviation/LAX. These are supposed to be synced with train timetables, but this still adds at least 15 min, and is prone to some of the same traffic jams that afflict the FlyAway. –  jpatokal Feb 3 at 5:20
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I've used the FlyAway in both directions twice already. It's very convenient to get downtown reliably. Traffic doesn't seem to affect much the duration of trips (45min seems like a good estimate) as they ride on the freeway in the ExpressLanes, reserved for buses and people who pay for a special pass. My only complaint is that one time, the bus wasn't clearly labeled FlyAway (just a completely black bus), but it stopped near the FlyAway sign at LAX, so I just waived and asked the driver.

There is one tiny constraint to using the FlyAway from LAX to Union Station though, they only take debit/credit cards (no cash), which you pay upon arrival at Union Station. When leaving Union Station, you pay before jumping on the bus.

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I used FlyAway and was happy with the service. Unless you're really trying to save some money, I'd chose this option. At Union Station you can buy a ticket from the Metrolink ticket machines which do take cash. The only traffic we hit was near downtown but it wasn't too bad. –  Jeff Bridgman Apr 2 at 16:41
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