If I am doing SEA LAX (DELTA), LAX BNE (VA), can I stay airside at LAX and avoid LAX TSA.etc?

Long story short:

  • First time travelling to the USA. Heard plenty TSA / CBP / LAX horror stories. Want to make sure I've got all my ducks in a row.
  • Short layover (< 2 hours) in LAX.
  • AU citizen travelling on AU passport. Visa waiver program.
  • Booked as a single trip.
  • Delta SEA LAX and Virgin Australia LAX BNE.
  • Virgin and Delta are partners - the Delta flight is codeshared to Virgin Australia, and the whole trip was booked via Virgin Australia.
  • I am checking baggage which I want to go all the way through.

I have read the following:

My itinerary states:

  • The Delta SEA LAX flight arrives at T2
  • The Virgin LAX BNE flight departs from T3. I believe this to be false as surely VA would fly out of TBIT as this is where their flights arrive? I believe VA checks in at T3 but flies out at TBIT. This seems to be what the above documentation says.

I have concluded:

  • I will arrive at LAX T3
  • I do not / cannot claim my baggage as it will be tagged through to Australia without me needing to transfer it.
  • Thus I can stay airside at LAX and walk or use the free shuttle to get from T3 to TBIT.
  • I board at TBIT avoiding LAX security.

I was concerned about outgoing immigration/passport control in the US but I've been led to believe that this is all electronic in the US and occurs when you check in with your airline.

Any additional insight is appreciated. Thanks.


1 Answer 1


US Airports are not separate like most Australian airports are. International and domestic departures often leave from the same terminals, as the US does not have as strict physical controls as Australia does. Airline departures are done as you have surmised by the airlines, via the APIS system.

So your conclusions are correct. You will land at LAX Terminal 3, jump on a shuttle bus to take you to TBIT, then hang around for your departure.

This is confirmed by the LAX page on transfers under the section Inter-terminal bus past security

A bus provides connections between Terminals 2, 3 and Tom Bradley past the Security Screening Check Points.

Click here for interactive map

  • 8
    I think this is probably assumed, but there is a missing step. Between landing and jumping on the shuttle, check monitors or on-line information to verify where your flight departs. Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 4:46

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