Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is expecting another record holiday season with an estimated 4.35 million travelers taking to the skies to celebrate with family and friends.This is 0.9 percent above last year’s record 4.31 million passengers for the holiday season.
The 19-day holiday period began Friday, December 15, and continues through Tuesday, January 2. The busiest day of the holiday period is expected to be Saturday, December 23, with more than 253,000 passengers forecast. More than 246,000 passengers are anticipated at LAX on Thursday, December 21, as well as the two days following Christmas, Tuesday, December 26, and Wednesday, December 27. The slowest days will be Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve with between 205,000 to 212,000 passengers.By comparison, LAX has averaged 232,000 passengers daily this year (through October 31).
Besides crowded terminals, airport staffers are warning travelers to expect increased traffic in the Central Terminal Area (CTA) — more than 1.9 million vehicles. The week before Christmas will average more than 109,000 vehicles daily, peaking on Friday, December 22, with about 120,000 vehicles. The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day will average nearly 98,000 vehicles daily. Motorists and passengers waiting for public transportation should plan for delays of up to 30 minutes during periods of traffic congestion in the CTA.
Airport officials recommend departing travelers factor in additional time for traffic congestion and arrive in their airline terminals at least two hours prior to boarding time for domestic flights and at least three hours before boarding time for international flights.Travelers heading to regions where winter weather could be a factor are also advised to check their flight’s status before coming to LAX.
“From PUPs, to carolers, to volunteers to point travelers in the right direction, we want to make a trip to LAX smooth and enjoyable this holiday season,” said Barbara Yamamoto, Chief Experience Officer at LAWA. “Our ask for our guests? Reduce your stress – arrive early, grab a bite, or even do some last minute shopping on your way home for the holidays.”
Passengers who use Long-Term Parking Lot C should also be aware of a reduction in available spaces due to reconstruction and reconfiguration. The entrance to Lot C from Westchester Parkway is closed. Electronic signs will be used to advise motorists when Lot C is full. Plan ahead and consider one of the other nearby long-term parking options.
Passengers can do their part to help reduce traffic congestion by taking shared-ride public transportation to/from LAX, including: Metro Rail Green Line; door-to-door shuttle vans; and long-distance and municipal buses. The airport also offers inexpensive and convenient FlyAway® buses from Hollywood, Long Beach, Metro Orange Line (San Fernando Valley), Union Station, Van Nuys, and Westwood/UCLA.
FlyAway riders will find curbside coordinators in safety vests located throughout LAX to assist them from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. most days throughout the holiday travel period.
Rather than circling the Central Terminal Area until arriving passengers reach terminal curbside for pick up, motorists can park and wait up to two hours free at the LAX Cell Phone Waiting Lot at 6221 West 96th Street (96th Street and Vicksburg Avenue), adjacent to the entrance of LAX Parking Lot C).To avoid the CTA altogether, motorists can ask arriving passengers to board the LAX Shuttle bus to Lot C and meet them in the Cell Phone Waiting Lot.
Active duty service members are reminded that the Bob Hope USO Center, located between Terminals 1 and 2, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week as they and family members travel through LAX.
To help keep traffic and passengers moving, and reduce the stress of travel, passengers can expect:
- A moratorium on construction and utility shut-downs in public areas inside and outside the airline terminals, parking lots, and traffic lanes will go into effect at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, December 20 and end at 9 p.m. Thursday, January 4.
- Los Angeles World Airports employee volunteers wearing yellow sashes or ties, comprising this year’s Team of LAXceptional Courtesy (TLC), will be in terminals and on sidewalks offering assistance and information to passengers on Thursday and Friday, December 21 and 22..
- LAX’s popular PUPs therapy dogs out in force providing comfort to those in need.
- Los Angeles Airport Police on enhanced deployment for high visibility and traffic management
To help speed their journeys, travelers are encouraged to enroll in TSA Pre√® or other trusted-traveler programs such as Customs & Border Protection’s Global Entry, which improve security and reduce wait times.
The public is reminded that LAX’s $14-billion modernization program is still on-going. When coming to LAX, passengers should look for and follow way-finding signage near all construction sites to ensure their safety and to enhance mobility.For real-time LAX traffic conditions, information on the status and locations of airport construction, “insider” traffic tips, and videos showing short-cuts, visit www.flyLAX.com.Motorists and travelers also can receive real-time status of airport conditions by accessing @FlyLAXairport and @LAAirportPD Twitter feeds.LAX is also on WAZE, the community-based traffic navigation app.