19
Mar2014
0

The apartment we were staying at in LA had cable, so we would watch some ice hockey or some news (a cougar was spotted in Griffith Park!).

On our last day in LA, we turned on the news after going out for breakfast to find that there had been a terrible shooting at LAX and that the airport had been evacuated. Our flight wasn’t until 5pm but we assumed it would be delayed. However, the AirNZ website said our flight was still on time, and the operator at the call center said our flight was still on time. So we went to the airport as planned.

Crawling on the motorway toward the airport, when we eventually got to LAX at 3.30pm, the whole place was closed. No traffic in or out except police vehicles and no one allowed into the airport buildings. Our flight would not be leaving at 5pm, obviously.

LAX - Waiting on the road

LAX - Waiting on the road

LAX - Waiting on the road

Because of the gunman, 1 person died, several were injured and the buildings had all been evacuated. Once he was arrested, the bomb squad then scanned every piece of luggage that had been left inside the buildings in case one was a bomb left by the shooter. Not even airline staff were allowed back in until that process was complete.

At 5pm, the airport was reopened. A short wait for us, but a day-long delay for others. We didn’t quite realise how many people were waiting for the airport to open until they all started pouring out of the nearby hotels. There were hundreds of people – probably thousands. Really, there were enough people to fill 7 hours worth of flights through LAX. And we were all walking up the 4 lane highway into the airport. Once-in-a-lifetime experience – we were pretty chuffed!

LAX - Walking up the road

LAX - Walking up the road

LAX - Walking up the road

LAX - Walking up the road

There were plenty of police and news trucks parked around the place. Below is a press conference going on in a neighbouring car park. Reporters were looking for people’s stories of confusion and drama on the road side. However, we were much more interested in seeing our plane that would take us back to the UK!

LAX - Walking up the road

LAX - Walking up the road

LAX - Our plane home

Our flight eventually left at 8pm, only 3 hours late, so we were pretty pleased. Sounds like the emergency services and airport staff did the best they could considering a very difficult situation.

We had a great stopover in LA, though. The museums were top notch, the restaurants were great quality and the craft beer selection was impressive. We’ll definitely consider having a stopover there again in future, as there’s plenty more to see!

LAX - Great stopver trip

That brings you mostly up to date with our 2013 activities. Any other photos (like when we went to Paris to see All Blacks play France) are probably on Facebook. And we’ll start posting about 2014 soon.

Until then…

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