Review: Los Angeles International Airport Observation Deck

A couple of weeks ago I volunteered my seat off a United Airlines flight and had a bit of time to explore the Observation Deck atop the Encounter Restaurant at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Situated in the center of the terminal area, it had been closed for several years after 9/11, but has since reopened to the general public. Cost: Free. How to get there: Short walk from the baggage claim level of each terminal toward the space-aged looking building.

The posted hours are Saturday and Sunday from 8:00am to 5:00pm, but that Saturday morning the person manning the desk didn’t show up until close to 9:30. After signing in, the gentleman did a quick search of my bag and I was on my way up the tiny (and I mean tiny… max 4 “thin” people) elevator. It opens directly onto the outdoor deck and features a 360-degree view of airport operations.

It was a drizzly and cool day, so I didn’t spend too much time up there, but did snap the following pictures. There is a glass/fiberglass partition, so defects and dirty panels can mar picture opportunities. That is unless, like me, you stand up on one of remarkably few benches to snap a couple over the barrier.

It’s a unique perspective, but as the true airplane spotters know, better plane viewing opportunities lie on the surface streets surrounding the airport, particularly at the nearby In-n-Out Burger.

You can click into each picture for a larger view. Enjoy!

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