Come Fly Away
December 3, 2014
Kerry Morrison, HPOA Executive Director, experiences the new Hollywood to LAX Fly Away bus service.
My normal airport routine is to leave my house 150 minutes before a flight, park at The Parking Spot and splurge on a car wash. It is not cheap, but I am in control of my destiny.
For my Thanksgiving trip, I vowed to relinquish control, save money and experiment by riding the much anticipated Hollywood LAX FlyAway service which began in September. Friends who pledged allegiance to this form of airport transport previously had to get to Union Station to take advantage of it.
For those who have never taken the FlyAway, I hope this serves to demystify the service. I am a new convert. And I still cannot believe it only cost EIGHT BUCKS.
I had an 11:30 a.m. Delta flight to JFK on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. My options on the FlyAway were this: a shuttle leaves from 1627 N. Vine Street (south of Hollywood Blvd.) at 15 minutes after the hour, every hour (between 5:15 a.m. and 9:15 p.m.). The website tells you to be there at the top of the hour and that it will take about one hour to get to the airport.
With my 11:30 a.m. Delta flight, my options were to take the 9:15 a.m. shuttle, which would be cutting it a little close if anything were to go wrong, or to take the 8:15 a.m. shuttle, which would give me oodles of time. Oodles of time at the airport is something I don’t often experience…but with the dining options now, that is not a bad thing.
I left my house at 7:40 a.m. and parked in my parking spot under Trader Joe’s. I got to the FlyAway bus stop at 7:58, and at 8 a.m., the bus pulled up. Douglas was the driver. People got off, and there were about eight of us waiting to board. The bus was less than half full. Douglas pulled out promptly at 8:15 a.m. and took a route to the airport I have never experienced. I tweeted the route, it was so unique.
All the way there I was relaxed, checking my email, marveling that this whole experience was only costing me EIGHT BUCKS!
I arrived at the Terminal 5 Delta check in 50 minutes later! This was too good to be true. This amazing experience afforded me the luxury to calmly eat breakfast at a sit-down restaurant (not feeling guilty because I only had to pay EIGHT BUCKS for my ride to the airport).
When I arrived at JFK, by contrast, my cab to Brooklyn cost less than $60 with tip.
I arrived back to Los Angeles on the evening of Monday, December 2, 2014. Now, here is the downside of the FlyAway. It leaves the airport once an hour, so depending upon when you leave baggage claim, you might be waiting five minutes or 55 minutes.
The website says that the bus will depart LAX Terminal 1 at 15 minutes after the hour. I left the Terminal 4 American baggage claim at exactly 6:15 p.m. and scooted out to the green sign that is clearly marked LAX Flyaway. Since I was at Terminal 4, my hope was that I had not missed it, since it would take a few minutes to get from Terminal 1 to 4. And sure enough, as luck would have it, the white van showed up at about 6:22 p.m. . There is no “Hollywood” sign on these new buses, so the driver got out and yelled “Hollywood.”
The route home was different. John, the delightfully pleasant driver, took 15 of us back to Hollywood via the 105 to the 110 to the 101. We arrived back at the corner of Argyle and Hollywood at 7:20 p.m.
I am a new fan of the LAX FlyAway! I am hard pressed to come up with anything that is a better value for SIXTEEN DOLLARS. See you on the ride!
Kerry Morrison is executive director of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance. She serves as a Mayoral appointee to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and blogs at www.onlyinhollywood.org.