Crime & Justice

Security at LAX: What to know after the Istanbul attack

Transportation Security Administration workers screen luggage in Terminal 2 of Los Angeles International Airport.
Transportation Security Administration workers screen luggage in Terminal 2 of Los Angeles International Airport.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Officials have beefed up security at LAX after the devastating attack on Tuesday at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport.

Patrick Gannon, chief of L.A. Airport Police, says that as soon as he heard about the suicide bombings in Turkey, he began retooling LAX's security plan.

"Immediately, I want to know as many facts as I possibly can — what the tactics were of the individuals involved, what exactly happened. Then we take a look at our own defenses here to see whether or not we're set up [to] deal with that," he says.

"We learn by every single incident that occurs throughout the world," Gannon adds.

Although it will take weeks or months to determine exactly how the attack went down, Gannon moved additional resources to the Tom Bradley International Terminal — where Turkish Airlines is located — out of what he calls an "abundance of caution." 

"We began to look at what Turkish flights we have coming into or departing from our airport, how those flights are going to be impacted and if that airline happened to be the object of the attack, which we don't know," Gannon says.

Additional personnel, both in uniform and undercover, as well as bomb-sniffing dogs were also been deployed throughout the airport.

During the busy 4th of July travel weekend, 225,000 to 250,000 people are expected to pass through LAX each day.

That means travelers can expect long lines at security and customs. Arrive a minimum of two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international ones. Exercise patience and stay alert.

Both the Brussels and Turkey airport bombings appear to have occurred in the public areas of each airport, before passengers reach any type of screening. That's why "see something, say something" is more important than ever.

Gannon urges travelers to be on the lookout for people who are standing around, looking like they have no place to go or like they're not travelling. If you see any unattended baggage, notify authorities as quickly as possible.

"Sometimes, travelling through an airport, we put our blinders on and just want to get from point A to point B," Gannon says. "We would just ask people to pay attention."