A facelift in L.A. is not exactly rare. But one that costs $238 million will certainly grab some attention.
"This project alone was 1,100 jobs," said L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Villaraigosa was on hand for the grand opening of the newly renovated Alaska Airlines Terminal 6 at LAX. It's part of a bigger $4-billion airport modernization project now under way. The project promises to create some 40,000 jobs over its seven-year duration.
Tuesday though was about Alaska Airlines CEO Bill Ayer showing off the airy, glass-filled terminal, from its premium-level Board Room lounge to its new check-in process.
"You get a boarding pass through a kiosk. If you have a bag to check, it's a quick process to check a bag," said Ayer. "They just scan your boarding pass. We want to be the easiest airline in the world to fly on."
Another thing passengers will notice is a surplus of electrical outlets. Alaska Airlines says it now has electrical outlets at half the seats in its new terminal.
"Yeah, that's nice to charge your phone and stuff. It's really good, especially when you've got to call back home and everything," said traveler Christopher Snyder. "Works good."
"It's beautiful," said traveler Cheri Nickle. "I have been through L.A. a few times and I was very disappointed in the old terminal, so this one is very beautiful.
The grand opening did run into some turbulence though. The airline was forced to move the news conference behind a Transportation Security Administration security checkpoint when members of the Service Employees International Union staged a demonstration, protesting Alaska Airlines' outsourcing of support jobs.
And the electrical outlets? "I've tried quite a few: not working yet," said Cheri Nickle. "But they'll work out the kinks, I'm sure."
But the Alaska Airlines Terminal project did wrap up $33 million under budget and on time.
"And from an airline being on time, it's pretty important. So we think that's a pretty neat deal," said Ayer.