Today and tomorrow are expected to be two of the busiest days of the holiday travel season at Los Angeles International Airport, so travelers should pack some patience along with their luggage.
Nearly 2.97 million passengers are expected to pass through LAX during the 14-day holiday travel period that began Friday and ends Jan. 2, a 4.1 percent increase over last year, airport officials said today.
In addition to today and tomorrow, the other two busiest days of the travel period are expected to be Friday and Dec. 29, according to the airport. More than 211,000 passengers are expected at LAX on those four days.
According to Airlines for America, the U.S. airline industry association, LAX will be the second busiest U.S. airport this holiday, behind Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Passengers should expect to see busy terminals and many domestic flights 95 percent full or fully booked, according to LAX.
Travel experts attribute the increase at LAX to the emergence of several new international air carriers and a greater availability of seats as some airlines add flights to new cities, use larger aircraft, or reconfigure existing aircraft with more seats on selected flights.
LAX officials recommend passengers planning to depart during daily peak travel periods — from 6 to 9 a.m., from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and from 7 to 11 p.m. — arrive two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights.
The airport’s multibillion-dollar modernization program is underway, and passengers should allow extra time to get to the terminals serving the airlines they’re flying, according to the airport statement. Visitors can expect to see construction along Central Terminal Area roadways; in Parking Structures 3 and 4; inside Terminals 1, 2, 5, 6, 7/8, and the Tom Bradley International Terminal, it said.
But in anticipation of passenger spikes, there will be occasional construction moratoriums through Jan. 5 on projects causing significant impacts to passenger flow.
Most domestic air travelers can save time and avoid ticketing counter lines by checking in for their flights through their airlines’ Internet websites before coming to the airport. Passengers also can check on flight status and sign up to receive electronic alerts from their airlines about their flights.
And to avoid having to drive and find parking space, airport officials encourage passengers to take public transportation to and from LAX — including taxis, shuttle vans, buses, Metro Rail to the Green Line/Aviation Station, and the LAX FlyAway nonstop bus service.
LAX is the sixth busiest airport in the world and third busiest in the United States, serving nearly 66.7 million passengers in 2013, according to the LAX statement. It offers 692 daily nonstop flights to 85 cities in the United States and 928 weekly nonstop flights to 67 cities in 34 countries on 62 commercial air carriers.
LAX ranks 14th in the world and fifth in the U.S. in air cargo tonnage processed, with over 1.9 million tons of air cargo valued at more than $91.6 billion, the statement said.