Terminal 2 at LAX is kind of like that awkward cousin that lives down the street. While you and your friends United, American, and Delta play together, T2 is off in the corner drawing weird pictures of combination bear-dolphins.
Every other terminal at LAX has a major carrier anchoring it, but Terminal 2 is a hodge-podge of carriers that aren’t giants in the US market: Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ArkeFly(?!?), Avianca, Hawaiian Air, Sun Country, TACA, Virgin Atlantic, Volaris, and WestJet. Since it’s a lower-trafficked terminal, the restaurant offerings have been pretty slim — Burger King, La Brea Bakery, Nate’n Al’s Deli, Starbucks, and Wolfgang Puck Express were all you had to choose from. Bummer, no? Well, say goodbye to the oft-forgotten Terminal 2 of the old days and say hello to the oft-forgotten Terminal 2 of today.
T2 at LAX starts undergoing construction today and when it’s all done, expect a brand new 16,100 sq. ft. of retail and dining from Westfield, the shopping mall giants who have started to take over the airport consumer game, too. Westfield, if you recall, is the same company that overhauled the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX and if that beautiful redesign is any indication, we may all have to start booking ArkeFly flights soon so we can experience the new offerings. Side note: can somebody tell me what ArkeFly is?
There will be 12 new dining destinations and 9 retail options to make your layover a little less boring. From the press release:
- Experience SeaLegs Wine Bar upholding the highest standards in its selection of great wines, paired with the art of gourmet California share plates with exceptional flavors in an environment that is infused with beauty;
- Savor “boat-to-plate” American seafood at the fast-casual SLAPFISH Modern Seafood Shack;
- Slice into made-from-scratch happiness at The Pie Hole, with great pie and coffee sourced from high quality ingredients;
- Taste modern cantina flavors at Pepita Cantina; a Los Angeles based concept created by Top Chef Mike Isabella;
- Enjoy flavorful Chinese cuisine “wok’d to order” at Pick Up Stix;
- Delight in a simple recipe of handmade dough and the finest mozzarella at Fresh Brothers Pizza;
- Grab organic sandwiches, salads and more with an Italian flair at Ciabatta Bar;
- Craft their own signature burger at Los Angeles-based BUILT (Custom Burgers);
- Dine in L.A. history at Barney’s Beanery, a classic American roadhouse modeled after Route 66;
- Sip on the world’s best known coffees at (2) Starbucks;
- Discover a full range of body-shaping innovations at international phenomenon SPANX;
- Shop travel essentials at (2) CNBC shops; or products targeted to the Hispanic traveler base at (2) Univision shops;
- Find the latest in electronics and cutting-edge technology on-the-go at eSavvy, and a first-ever “Beats Bar” at InMotion Entertainment;
It’s interesting to note that these dining concepts stray from the idea of attracting top local culinary talent. Pick Up Stix and Fresh Brothers are definitely in LA, but not revered as classics in any way. Barney’s Beanery has been around forever, but it’s not somewhere that people are all that excited to visit — except on football Sundays. I’ve never heard of SeaLegs, SLAPFISH, or BUILT, but they all sound like plays on places I have heard of. The one place that stands out is “The Pie Hole” and while their menu sounds great, I can’t say that they come up often in foodie conversations around LA.
Caliber of restaurants not withstanding, I applaud any effort to upgrade the flying experience. To more than double your dining options before you fly is a boon for all travelers and I look forward to seeing T2 once it’s completed.