As nearly 2.6 million travelers are expected to visit Los Angeles International Airport this holiday season, officials are upping the amount of security inside the airport and at screening checkpoints. Reggie Kumar reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013.
The holiday travel season has officially begun.
LAX officials are reporting that 2.6 million people will travel through LAX over the course of the two-week holiday travel period, which started Dec. 20 and goes through Jan. 2. That’s 8.2 percent more than last year’s 2.4 million travelers.
Some of the busiest travel days are this weekend. LAX officials say that Friday Dec. 20, Saturday Dec. 21, Thursday Dec. 26, Friday Dec. 27, Sunday Dec. 29, and Thursday Jan. 2 are expected to be the busiest, with 200,000 travelers expected to pass through LAX on each of those days.
Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day are expected to be the least busy.
Because of the increase in traffic, volunteers wearing red vests will be on hand to help additional passengers. They will be available curbside of the departure level, as well as in airline ticketing lobbies, on select days. This is in addition to the regularly assigned volunteers and customer service reps that assist travelers in the meet-and-greet areas on the arrival level of each terminal.
LAX’s trained therapy dogs and handlers, referred to as PUPs (Pets Unstressing Passengers) will also roam through the boarding areas and visit passengers awaiting flights.
Travelers should arrive to the airport early and allow extra time, as a major $4.1-billion LAX modernization project is on-going. Because of the increased traffic during the holidays, construction work on roadways and parking structures will be limited to the late-evening and early-morning hours.
LAX officials are encouraging travelers to use public transportation, whether it be using the Metro Rail Green Line, a door-to-door shuttle van, taxis, or the LAX Flyaway bus service. They want to remind travelers that parking structures 3 and 4 reach capacity faster than other structures, and may not have parking during peak travel times.
For those who choose to drive to LAX, the airport has launched a program that gives real-time traffic conditions in the terminal area, courtesy of the Los Angeles City Department of Transportation.
LAX is the sixth busiest airport in the world, and the third busiest in the United States.