Holiday travel up at LAX this year

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – An estimated 2.24 million passengers will pass through Los Angeles International Airport during the holiday travel season, which begins in earnest today and ends Jan. 2.

That’s a 5.4 percent increase over the same 13-day holiday travel period last year at LAX, the nation’s third-largest airport.

The busiest travel days are expected to be today through Sunday; Friday, Dec. 28; and Wednesday, Jan. 2. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are expected to be the lightest travel days at LAX.

Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that manages the airport, plans to flood LAX with volunteers to assist with the large volume of travelers.

Volunteers will be wearing red vests and roaming the departures-level curbsides and airline ticketing lobbies beginning today.

Around 540,000 arriving and departing travelers – nearly a quarter of the holiday period passenger load – are expected at LAX through Sunday, said airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles.

Passengers with departures scheduled for peak travel times of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. should expect congestion and plan on arriving at their terminals two hours early for domestic flights and three hours before international departures.

LAX officials also cautioned travelers that a blizzard moving across the Midwest could cause delays affecting flights in and out of LAX and urged them to check the status of their flights before coming to the airport.

Flights bound for Chicago O’Hare International Airport, a major travel hub, were already being halted Thursday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s website.

Six flights Chicago-bound flights out of LAX were cancelled Thursday, Castles said.

She advised travelers to sign up on airlines’ websites for automatic flight status notifications, which can be received via text, email or telephonically and for outbound travelers to print online boarding passes, which can eliminate waits of up to 45 minutes at ticket counters.

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