Close to 250,000 travelers are expected to pass through Los Angeles International Airport Friday — part of the 5.8 mullion people forecast to use the airport during the current holiday travel season.
The 5.8 million are expected to pass through Los Angeles International Airport during the 25-day holiday travel period that began last Friday, airport officials said, urging people to plan ahead and pack a lot of patience.
The official 25-day travel period will continue through Jan. 7, according to Los Angeles World Airports officials. The estimate of 5.8 million travelers is up 1.2 percent from last year’s holiday period.
The busiest travel days are anticipated to be Dec. 26, when more than 255,000 travelers are expected at the airport; Friday, when 249,000 are expected; and Sunday, when 250,000 are anticipated. The lightest travel days are expected to be Dec. 25 and Dec. 31, with between 212,000 and 214,000 travelers anticipated to pass through LAX.
Airport officials suggested that motorists heading for the airport during the holidays consider using Century Boulevard.
“We noticed during the Thanksgiving holiday period that Century Boulevard was underutilized while other entry points to the airport were significantly backed up,” Keith Wilschetz, LAWA’s deputy executive director for operations and emergency management, said in a statement. “For the upcoming holidays, we strongly encourage motorists, especially those coming from the north to enter the airport from Century Boulevard.”
Airport officials also recommended that motorists consider entering LAX on the lower/arrivals level, which typically has lighter traffic than the upper level. Passengers can be dropped off on the lower level then take elevators or escalators to reach the departures level.
Passengers are advised to arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to boarding time for domestic flights and three hours for international flights.
Airport officials also urged travelers to consider alternate transportation to LAX, such as the Metro Green Line and shuttle buses or FlyAway buses, which operate from Hollywood, Long Beach, the San Fernando Valley, Union Station, Van Nuys and Westwood.
This year’s holiday travel figures have increased for the 10th straight year, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California, which said that 8.7 million Southern Californians will take trips of 50 miles or more this holiday season — up 4.8 percent from last year and the highest number since AAA began tracking holiday travel estimates.
More than 88 percent of local and statewide travelers are expected to drive to their destinations, while 8 percent will fly and less than 4 percent will go by other means, such as train, bus or cruise, the AAA said in a statement.
The Auto Club said 8.7 million people across Southern California will be taking trips of 50 miles or more between Saturday and Jan. 1. That’s up 4.8 percent from last year and the highest number since the club began tracking travel estimates. The vast majority of those people — about 7.7 million — are expected to travel by car, according to the Auto Club.
In addition to Southern California’s contingent of 8.7 million travelers, the AAA expects 14 million Californians — 4.8 percent more than last year — to take trips of at least 50 miles and 112 million — 4.4 percent more than 2017 — from around the nation. Auto Club holiday travel projections cover 11 days — from Dec. 22 to Jan. 1.
“Lower unemployment, higher wages and continued consumer confidence are the major reasons we are booking more trips for our members during this holiday and throughout the past year,” said Filomena Andre, the Auto Club’s vice president for travel products and services.
Andre recommends that air travelers arrive at the airport at least two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international flights, particularly if their departure is on the three most congested days for flights — Saturday, Dec. 22, Sunday, Dec. 23 and Wednesday, Dec. 26.
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