Los Angeles International Airport's central terminal area reopened Saturday with little fanfare and amid an atmosphere of calm, a stark contrast to its closing more than a month ago.
The move restored 7,000 of 10,000 parking slots within the airport--nearly half of its capacity--that were declared off-limits to the public on Sept. 13.
Arriving and departing passengers had been forced to take five- to 10-minute shuttle rides to and from remote parking lots, hotels or rental car services.
LAX was closed Sept. 11 and 12. It reopened Sept. 13 to find its usual flood of fliers reduced to a trickle.
Beginning at 5 a.m. Saturday, the nation's third-busiest airport moved a step closer to normality as six of the seven closed structures reopened to the relief of airport officials, employees and passengers.
"It's gone very smoothly," said LAX spokeswoman Gail Gaddi.
"It gives passengers a sense of normalcy, and we're glad that we're able to satisfy both the FAA and our passengers."
Gaddi said the airport, which has averaged 2,100 flights daily, now averages about 1,800 a day.
"We're slowly getting back to normal," she said.
Airport passengers and their meeters and greeters--or at least those who took advantage of the reopening--enjoyed their pick of parking spaces in the unusually under-crowded multistory lots.
Steve Liu pulled uncontested into a normally hard-to-come-by spot in ground-level parking across from the American Airlines terminal.
"I'm delighted," said Liu, who was picking up his sister.
Dave Paterson, who was dropping off his sister, was relieved he didn't have to drop her off at a remote lot.
"I think it's great," he said.
The reopening, announced Friday, was news to some airport customers on Saturday morning, as many still headed to the remote lots to pick up or drop off family members and friends.
"Are you kidding me?" Lynne Solomon said when told of the change as she dropped off her mother at Parking Lot B, about three miles from the main terminal.
The reopening allowed nearly 350 parking attendants laid off on Sept. 18 to return to work.
Many of them, employees of Five Star Parking, were laid off with less than a day's notice, said Raymond Turner, who works for the company.
"It was like losing part of your family," he said.
"People are glad to be back because there was nothing they could do to prepare for being off."