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The big LAX terminal shuffle will let JetBlue create a lobby with (almost?) no lines

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The JetBlue Airways lobby at John F. Kennedy airport. The airline’s new lobby in its new home in Terminal 5 of Los Angeles International Airport, expected to be completed by this summer, will follow a similar design.
(JetBlue Airways)

JetBlue Airways is promising that LAX’s massive airline shuffle, kicking off Friday night, will allow it to do away with a big travel headache: lines.

By moving next week from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5 at Los Angeles International Airport, the New York-based carrier will eventually have enough space to double the number of check-in positions and self-serve kiosks that it currently has.

JetBlue’s move will take place Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, part of a major airline relocation at LAX, where 15 carriers are moving to new terminals to allow Delta Air Lines to gain more terminal space and get better access to the airport’s international terminal as well as the carrier’s partners, including Aeromexico, Virgin Atlantic and WestJet.

By this summer, JetBlue plans to complete a redesign of the new terminal to include 10 check-in positions and 10 kiosks. The kiosks will allow passengers to tag their own bags and drop them onto a conveyor belt for screening.

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JetBlue has installed a similar lobby design at bustling Terminal 5 of New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The set-up also can be found at airports in Atlanta; Boston; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Newark, N.J.; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The New York-based carrier has described the layout as a “line-less lobby,” free of the queuing ropes and stanchions that are ubiquitous in most terminals. But when pressed, JetBlue officials say there may be a rare occasion when crowds are big enough to have to form a line.

“Our new self-service design eliminates the long, snaking lobby line common in airports,” JetBlue spokesman Morgan Johnston said. “Even at our busiest terminal — JFK T5 — we rarely see a pre-security queue greater than four customers.”

hugo.martin@latimes.com

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