Preparing for Peru (LAX FlyAway Experience)

NOTE: This LAX FlyAway observation was taken from my viewpoint as a resident of Ventura County. I took into account the effort it took to go to this location during my trip to LAX. Every experience will vary.

Ok, where were we? Aaaahhh, that’s right. The days leading to our travel day. Our flight today will allow me to blog quite a bit so I’m gonna break up my blog in segments

We’re known to be last-minute packers. Our flight day was scheduled on a Tuesday at 7am. Nancy had to work Sunday and Monday, so we had to prioritize. On Saturday, Ethan walked in to our room and was pleasantly surprised to see us, “What? You guys are actually packing for your vacation 3 days before the trip? Wow!!!”

Yes, that’s right. We actually started to pack on Saturday, three days before our trip. But rest assured that we still stayed up late on Monday night. Nancy got home from work around 9pm, and I still had business to take care of earlier in the evening, so it wasn’t until past midnight when I finished packing.

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Two Ricardo Carryons, Tumi backpack, and Eddie Bauer Backpack

Staying true to the Francisco way of traveling, although we were allowed to bring checked baggage, we knew better not to do so. We both had 1 carryon luggage and a backpack, that’s it.

LAX FlyAway Van Nuys

One of the things that I’m not a fan of now that I’m doing quite a bit of leisure traveling is the fact that I have to pay for parking. On average, whenever we’d be gone for a week, we’d park our car or van near LAX. The typical weekly charge is around $90. I wanted to try something different. My brother,  Jojit, and also one of my travel buddies, Ben, mentioned LAX FlyAway in Van Nuys. To those not familiar with Van Nuys, it’s somewhat of a halfway point from where we live and LAX. The idea is to park your car in their Van Nuys location, take the LAX FlyAway bus, and be dropped off at your terminal. There are many other locations other than Van Nuys.

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Where are the LAX FlyAway locations

  • Hollywood (West side of Vine St. – One-half block South of Hollywood Blvd.)
  • Long Beach (Northwest corner of 1st St. and Long Beach Blvd. at Shelter A of the Long Beach Transit Gallery)
  • Orange Line (South side of Victory Blvd., East of Woodley Ave., along the Metro Orange Line bus route)
  • Union Station (Downtown Los Angeles)
  • Van Nuys (San Fernando Valley)
  • Westwood (West Los Angeles/UCLA)

The fees

  • One-way ticket to or from LAX = $9.75
  • Roundtrip ticket per person = $19.50

Therefore, for the two of us, a roundtrip ticket is $39.00. Hmmmmm, not bad, right? I wanted to give it a try. I’m a travel blogger and I’m open to trying new things. So here’s the deal. Our flight was scheduled to leave LAX at 7am, and with international trips, the advise is to be at the airport three hours prior to departure, therefore we needed to be at LAX by 4am. To be there by 4am, we needed to get on the 3am bus. Meaning, we’d need to leave our house by 2am. Ouch. But heck, we gave it a try.

We got to Van Nuys close to 3am. We then realized that on top of the $39.00 for the bus ride to/from LAX, there was a fee to park in Van Nuys of $4 per day. We’re going to be gone for about 10 days. So that would be $40 for parking. At this point, I see the pros and cons.

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The cons

It took us another 10-12 minutes from the 101 Freeway to get in to Van Nuys. The roads were clear, but the lights were on a timer, and we ended up waiting quite a bit longer even though there were no cars passing. This was in the early hours of the morning. I could only imagine how traffic it would be during the day. The streets in San Fernando Valley get very busy during the day. Therefore, one will need to factor in the drive time going in to Van NuysIMG_2141

If all six of us were to go use FlyAway service, that would be easily $120 for our bus rides plus another $40 for the parking itself while I could get a prepaid parking near LAX for around $90. So having more people in your party makes a big difference.

The pros

The parking structure at LAX FlyAway Van Nuy was brightly lit. Facilities were clean. The ride at 3:30am to LAX, to no surprise, was smooth. No traffic and we actually got to LAX by 4am as we had originally planned. With us having almost no sleep, it helped that we were able to sleep in the bus.

Upon our return, all we need to do is wait for the next LAX FlyAway outside our terminal. The buses tend to circle LAX every 15 minutes. Depending on the time of day, one would have to factor in the travel time due to traffic.

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My verdict

LAX FlyAway is an option for me moving forward, but I probably would not be using this option a lot. If there was another location closer to the 101 Freeway coming from Ventura County (say, around Agoura Hills or Calabasas area where there appears to be potential vacant lots to use, then I might consider using it some more). Why? The drive time going in to Van Nuys killed it for me today, and considering, there was no traffic, but the slow stop lights added to my drive time. I can’t even imagine how congested these streets would be during the day.

For those in the Valley, especially those near the 405, getting to Van Nuys FlyAway would make more sense for them. It gives them easier access when compared to those who use the 101 Freeway. I wonder if the location in Westwood/UCLA would be an easier access. I’ll find out next time.

Ok…this is entry #2 as we prepared for Peru.

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