Sunday, September 9, 2012

Plane Spotting: In-N-Out LAX

As a frequent flier, private pilot, and aviation enthusiast, naturally one of my favorite things to do is go plane spotting, and one of the best places to do that is the In-N-Out Burger on Sepulveda near LAX. I used to live in LA when while going to USC and I'm kind of embarrassed to say I only went to this place for the first time last year; now it is a must-stop every time in in town. If you're ever at LAX for a long layover, it's close by, easy to get to, and well worth the effort.

British Airways 747 over In-N-Out LAX taken on our way back from Tahiti in 2011

Located right next to the approach path for the north runways (24L and 24R), In-N-Out is the perfect place to grab a bite while a 747 roars over your head. Lunchtime is probably best as there are a lot of international arrivals mid-day and you're guaranteed to spot a heavy. When we were there in July, we saw 2 A-380's within probably 10 minutes of each other. That was definitely the highlight of our otherwise not-so-fun 3 hour-turned 8 hour layover due to a mechanical. Anyway, the best way to get there from LAX is to catch a Parking Spot Sepulveda Shuttle. It's free and you'll find them outside on the baggage claim level; they're hard to miss with big bright spots all over them (they even have a USC one!), but be sure to get the Sepulveda shuttle because there are two different Parking Spots at LAX. Their Sepulveda parking garage is on the same property as the In-N-Out. The shuttles are frequent and the trip takes about 5-10 minutes each way. If you do have a flight to catch, be sure to leave enough time to clear security once you back to the airport. As a Premier Gold with United I'm able to use the shorter lines in Terminal 6 and had never had to wait more than just a few minutes, making In-N-Out a very easy trip, but of course experiences vary due to which airline you are flying and what time of day it is.

I'd normally consider myself more the clean-living active lifestyle type, and somewhat of a foodie, so I'm usually not a fast food advocate, but trust me, In-N-Out is good! In fact, I'm not entirely sure I would have survived my pregnancy without my at-least-twice-weekly animal style cheeseburger (well that, Thai food, chocolate milk, and that one week I was addicted to all things peanut butter). Luckily, there is an In-N-Out right by my house in NorCal, but even then, I still can't get enough, and make it a point to visit the one by LAX whenever I can. It is also cheaper and tastier than anything else I have been able to find in that airport.

For those of you not from the West Coast, who might not be as familiar with In-N-Out and their "secret" menu, you've got to try animal style- mustard grilled into the meat, extra sauce, extra pickles and grilled onions. I usually opt for a animal style cheeseburger and a water, which comes out to a very friendly $2.30-something with tax. You can also get a double double (as the name implies, double meat, double cheese), 3x3, get the idea, and you can even get your fries animal style too. I usually don't like fries (not particularly In-N-Out ones, but fries in general) but I did try them that way with the special sauce and grilled onions when I was pregnant (I was told that's what all the other preggos order) and they were very good!

If you're looking to take some awesome pictures while you're there, the best place is from the Parking Spot structure (don't be afraid to go up a level or two), which is where these were taken.

Captured on my iPhone during the infamous 8 hour delay to Maui in July 2012

Spotting tip: If you want to know which planes are headed your way, you can listen to air traffic control via They have an app for both iphone and android. You can also find an LAX arrival schedule here.

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