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LAX arrivals are slowest at getting to the gate after landing, study finds

LAX runway
A Southwest Airlines airplane taxis to the runway at Los Angeles International Airport. A study found that planes landing at LAX take nearly 11 minutes to get to their gates during the busy summer season.
(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

Perhaps the best moment in a commercial flight is when the plane lands safely and you know you are only minutes away from getting out of your cramped seat and into the terminal.

The bad news for passengers at Los Angeles International Airport is that it takes planes landing at LAX longer to get to the gate after touchdown than at any other major U.S. airport.

A study by MileCards.com, a website that compares loyalty reward programs, found that during the busy summer travel season, it takes planes at LAX an average of nearly 11 minutes to arrive at their gate after landing. In contrast, the shortest time from landing to gate is at San Diego International Airport — just under four minutes. 

The delay in getting planes to their gates could be the result of a combination of factors, including an occasional shortage of gates and planes that land on outer runways having to wait for traffic on other runways and taxiways to clear before they can navigate to their gates, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. He also noted that LAX has also welcomed several massive new planes, including the A380, which are too big for certain taxiways.

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The good news for Los Angeles fliers is that LAX did not get the top “Misery Score,” a ranking that combines on-time arrival rates, the time it takes between leaving the gate and taking off and the time between landing and getting to the gate.

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Based on the MileCards study, LAX ranked 12th in the misery score list, behind Newark, La Guardia, O’Hare, JFK, Boston and San Francisco. At LAX, the on-time arrival rate in the summer is 77%, and the time between leaving the gate and taking off is about 16 minutes.

The airport with the lowest Misery Score was Mineta San Jose International Airport, where the summer on-time rate has been nearly 81% and it takes an average of about 11 minutes between leaving the gate and taking off and only four minutes between landing and getting to the gate.

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hugo.martin@latimes.com

For more travel news, follow Hugo Martin on Twitter: @hugomartin


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