A few weeks ago, I posted a how-to on getting to the various airports in the Los Angeles metro area. Surprisingly, it's been one of my more popular posts. I'd like to add a few methods for getting to LAX for the cash-conscious, after learning that the swanky FlyAway service is a spendy $7.
There are two bus lines and a network of rail that link LAX to Union Station. They're going to be less comfortable, more crowded and slower, but also significantly cheaper.
If you're a bus snob and you insist on going by train, you can ride the Red Line to 7th/Metro, the Blue Line to Imperial-Wilmington/Rosa Parks, and the Green Line to Aviation/LAX, where a free shuttle bus (the G shuttle) will take you to the airport. Total cost $3.75, due to increase to $4.50 when fares go up July 1st.
If you don't mind buses, you've got two choices. The #439 Express bus leaves from Dock 1 at the Patsouras Transit Plaza at the back of Union Station, leaving every 45 minutes on weekdays and hourly on weekends, from 4am on weekdays and 6am on weekends through 9pm. It'll take 50 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic, and cost you $1.85, due to increase to $2.20 on July 1. It'll drop you at the LAX City Bus Centre, which is connected to the airport by the free C shuttle bus. (UPDATE: Commenter cph notes that the 439 is slated for cancellation 12/2010.)
The second choice is the #42 local bus, which leaves from Chavez & Vignes (about a block north of the Patsouras Transit Plaza) at least half-hourly from 5 am through midnight. (After 8pm, riders must use route #40 at Chavez & Vignes, and transfer to 42 at Broadway/7th.) It'll take around 70-80 minutes, depending on traffic and time of day, and cost you a lovely $1.25, due to increase to $1.50 on July 1. Like it's express cousin, it'll drop you at the LAX City Bus Centre, where you can connect to the plane via the C shuttle bus.
Late at night, Metro's Owl service does provide service from Chavez & Vignes to LAX, via lines 70 and 40, with a short walk between Grand and Broadway on 7th Street. It'll cost you $3.75, due to increase to $4.50 on July 1, take approximately 90 minutes, and drop you at the LAX City Bus Centre. However, I should mention that this means walking about downtown Los Angeles in the middle of the night. Flyaway runs hourly, 24 hours a day, and this blogger recommends you spend the extra few dollars for the safe ride to the airport. Of course, Metrolink doesn't run that late, so Inland residents probably won't need to worry about it.