Smoking without leaving security at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is possible, depending upon which terminal you are flying out. The relatively-hidden airside smoking patio in the Tom Bradley International Terminal offers a far better alternative than heading out to the curb.
Where To Smoke At LAX
The official LAX website offers no information on designated smoking areas at Los Angeles International Airport. This is by design, as the smoking area is relatively new and undermines the aggressive efforts the City of Los Angeles has taken to snuff out smoking. Nevertheless, the smoking area recognizes that LAX is an international hub catering to travelers from cultures in which smoking is more prevalent.
Historically, the airport had outdoor patios in Terminal 2 and Terminal 6, plus the airline lounges in the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) offered patios. The former patios have been turned into pet relief areas in which smoking is no longer permitted.
But a new large, outdoor terminal exists in TBIT. You will not find signs for it in the main concourse, but once past security head to Gate 130, near the food court.
Once you reach the food court, walk through it. On the other side you’ll see an overhead sign that mentions the smoking area. Take a left, walk past the restrooms, and you will find a glass door on the right that takes you outside to the smoking patio.
The outdoor patio is enclosed by high glass walls. If you’re a planespotter, this also offers a great area to watch aircraft land. Despite the risk of second-hand smoke, I took my son in for a few minutes so we could watch our favorite airplane, a Lufthansa A380, land.
Please be a good neighbor and extinguish your smoking articles in one of the many ashtrays and not on the ground.
How Do I Get There?
Eventually, all terminals will be connected at LAX. For now, terminals 4-8 and TBIT are connected on the secure side (post security). Terminals 6-8 are connected by a ground level walkway while underground tunnels link Terminal 4,5, and 6. Consequently, you can gain access to this smoking area if you are traveling from any of these terminals.
Tip: If flying out of Terminal 7 or 8, give yourself at least 15 minutes in each direction to reach the smoking area. It may be easier just to step outside to smoke and clear security again afterwards.
Where NOT To Smoke At LAX
Again, there are at least three pet relief areas in other terminals (2, 6, and TBIT). These are not smoking areas. Please do no smoke in these areas.
And a personal request. I write these smoking guides even though I am a non-smoker to try to keep people from smoking outside airport entrances. Understand that when you smoke there, everyone walking by inhales your smoke. However, when you use the designated patio in TBIT, no one smells it except those who choose to be there.
I am not a smoker, but did verify during a recent visit this is still open. My views on smoking at airports remain unchanged. A warning: the distinct smell of pot was present on the patio and no signs indicated smoking was limited to cigarettes. One traveler was puffing away on a cigar.
But if you have a long layover, you may find this hidden smoking area at LAX a better alternative then heading out to the curb and dealing with another security check.
May I ask why you are asking people not to smoke in a pet relief area? What is more disgusting – dozens of dogs relieving themselves (incl. diarrhea that can’t just be picked up) or a free man enjoying a cigarette on a Sunday afternoon?
Oh, I have no problem with you smoking in the pet relief area or even an indoor bar. I just fear that if people smoke in the pet areas, that may move LA to close the actual smoking patio. So follow the rules. You have your own spot to smoke, which is better than before.
“May I ask why you are asking people not to smoke in a pet relief area?”
Can you not read? The posted signs clearly prohibit smoking in these areas.
This will end up the most viewed resource and post for Live and Let Fly. Even though the abandoned L-1011 was the best ever.
After a 17-hour flight in deep coach, I might wish I’d taken up smoking….
Was going to ask about the pot. That’s very disappointing. Nothing smells worse than that garbage that is only smoked by lower people who should be doing something better with their lives.
Troll, troll, troll your boat…
Classism isn’t a good look.
Did you notice if they have a Cannabis Amnesty Box like some other airports? I’d feel more comfortable smoking there if I know there’s somewhere safe I can leave a leftover joint of whatnot before my flight.
I’ve seen the boxes at ORD, but not at LAX. Maybe that will all change under the new administration.
You might be a bit optimistic. They are only at 1 million signatures last I checked, so quite a ways to go until a recall, much less a new administration.
These smoking zones make sense: they don’t impact non-smokers and make travel less stressful for those that partake. Germany and Italy have those little cabins around the departure gates; they have separate air-con. Australia has the dumbest arrangement, ie a smoking zone immediately outside the departure entry doors, making passengers walk in close proximity to toxic clouds of smoke.
I miss the outdoor patio at the UAL gates. Thanks for letting me know about this option. Seems quite far from UAL. Probably will just grab that one last puff before security. But, I am courteous and don’t do it by the doors.
Vancouver , BC. has a smoking room past security,, at least 4 years ago.
I am sitting on the smoking patio at LAX currently and am grateful it exists before an international flight. It is far removed from everything but easily accessible from the international gates.
My connecting flight is in terminal 6, I highly suggest if you are here or further away from the Tom Bradley terminal, don’t make the 25 min walk to smoke, lot of turns you’ll have to remember and it is completely out of the way, unless you have hiking experience and 3+ hour layover, just skip the smoke.
Thanks thousand times!
Still here just walk past the KFC in the food court area and they have signs.
LAX is full of $h!t. The government IS the Taliban. Too much regulation too little freedom.
appreciate this helpful and informative post. long layover tomorrow and want to get some work done with a premium cigar. thanks.
Two points occur to me. When you have wheel chair assist will they take you to smoking zone if you have long lay over?
Does the prohibition on smoking apply to vaping which can produce more chemical toxins in secondhand breathing then smoking does. Talk about inhaling toxins from tobacco smokers or other substances California permits at a busy International Airport makes me smile, If you only new what is floating around in the air from fuel, engine and control fluids, cleaning materials etc etc etc. Probably safer to buy a pack fo cigarettes, throw away the tobacco and just breathe the air at LAX through the filters if you are worried about toxins.
Vaping and cannabis allowed. Agree that the jet fumes are far more toxic. Sort of ironic…
This article is amazing. 1 I can smoke. 2 the comments are the greatest stoned read and time passer.
Thank you very much for the detailed directions.
You literally gave me much relief before a 13 hour flight to Turkey.
Thanks a lot.
Thanks so much for the info! I have a 2.5 hour layover after a 6 hour flight. This is great.
My pleasure. Safe travels.
As of may 2022 it is still open and amazing!! So grateful for this resource!
Thank you so much! I was considering leading the airport until I came across this article.
I was able to get to the smoking area from terminal 2 in June 2022 after a quick shuttle ride.
Good for you!
Thank you Matthew for your informative review. I am also a fan of your article on why smoking lounges should return. I can’t say I have noticed a strong smell of smoke outside of most airport entries nowadays, but I do question the amount of extra work TSA officials must endure as smokers leave and re-enter the security checkpoint. In addition to placing an increased workload on TSA officials, it also increases the waiting time for all passengers through security. I imagine places like London Heathrow, where a long layover is not unusual, must have a significant amount of people leaving the terminal to smoke after a long international flight. I would love to see numbers on this, and also if the increased workload on TSA affects performance.
Thank you for your post. It was very helpful for us to find the smoking area. I appreciate your detail and pictures!
Leaving to Spain this wednesday and this post saved my life! Thanks for all the hard work and easy instructions to get to the smoking area….and with pictures!!!! Much love
Just used the smoking lounge and found it thanks to this page! Can confirm as of 2/28/2023 the smoking patio is still there and being used.
3-25-23 still here! And boy was I ready! 4 hour layover so also kept me entertained on the scavenger hunt! Thankful for the tip!
3-28-23 still here!! Thanks for the tip. ✈️
Thanks for this. Had a 2 hour LAX layover, decided to go down the rabbit hole to find this area. Still there as of 4/21/23. Helpful tip as mentioned by others, look for the KFC and follow the signs from there. Much appreciated!
First, since if these comments have me rolling
Second, they need more safe to smoke sections… because when they’re hard to find and few and far between…. smokers end up smoking in the bathrooms… just saying