We are flying from Japan to Mexico City and have an 11-hour layover in Los Angeles (LAX). Our friend is willing to come pick us up to hang out for a few hours but we are unclear if we are allowed to leave the airport if we are connecting for international flights.
Our baggage will be checked all the way through and we wonder if leaving through customs without taking our bags will signal some sort of warning/alarm.
We are flying Malaysia Air from Japan and then Alaska Air from LAX. We are also American citizens.