Is a helicopter the best way to reach Los Angeles International Airport from downtown L.A.?
According to my Aviation Week colleague Madhu Unnikrishnan (a great journalist you should follow on Twitter) LAX considered implementing a bizarre SkyLounge idea during the mid-1960s.
Helicopters would go from downtown to the airport carrying "pods" - sort of like passenger busses. They would land at LAX and deposit the pods filled with filled with travelers. The pods would then be towed to the terminals via tractor.
Here's how Unnikrishnan describes it on AviationWeek.com
Sky Lounges were envisioned as passenger pods carried by Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane helicopters, operated by Los Angeles Airways. Passengers would board a Sky Lounge in downtown Los Angeles, pay a $2.50 fare, and be flown to LAX. At the airport, the helicopter would deposit the Sky Lounge, which would then be towed around to the terminals by a tractor.
You can see a picture of the contraption on the Aviation Week site.
Incidentally, when Los Angeles was apparently considering this idea, the airport processed about 12 million passengers per year. Last year, the airport handled 70.7 million passengers, an all-time record.
You could still reach LAX via helicopter until 2010 when the airport's heliport abruptly closed. It is not likely it will ever reopen.