More than 3M Expected to Travel in SoCal Over Thanksgiving Holiday

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is one of the busiest travel days of the year.

By Kyler Jae
|  Friday, Nov 22, 2013  |  Updated 2:37 PM PDT
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Holiday Survival Guide: 12 Tips for Thanksgiving Travel

Nick Ut/AP

Holiday passengers wait in lines at Los Angeles International Airport Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Over 2 million passengers are expected to pass through Los Angeles International Airport during the 11-day Thanksgiving holiday travel period beginning Nov. 22.

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More than three million Southern Californians are expected to fly and drive at least 50 miles this Thanksgiving holiday, a 4 percent dip from last year, according to the Auto Club of Southern California.

Some 3.2 million people are expected to travel to places such as San Diego, Las Vegas, San Francisco, the Central California Coast and the Grand Canyon, AAA said. Nearly 2.8 of those people will travel by car. Airports sould see up to 331,000 people, the Auto Club said. Flights will be booked.

LAX expects more than 2 million travelers to move through the airport over the 11-day Thanksgiving holiday period which began Friday, said Nancy Castles, an airport spokeswoman, in a press release.

This year's forecast passenger totals represent a 6.8 percent increase over the 1.87 million who passed through LAX during last year's Thanksgiving holiday period, Castles said. The increase in travel through LAX is due to airlines making more seats available through the use of larger aircraft and the addition of international flights, Castles said.

"Passengers should expect to see busy terminals and many domestic flights 90 percent full," she said.

The Auto Club blames unemployment, higher tax rates and travel costs as factors on why fewer people are expected to travel this year.

Officials are warning travelers to expect significant delays as roadways are expected to be clogged and the California Highway Patrol will be out in force.

They'll be cracking down on motorists driving drunk. The Thanksgiving is one of the most dangerous holidays for driving, authorities said.

In 2011, 249 travelers wer killed on the roads nationwide during the Thankgsgiving holiday weekend, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

"We all want to make sure that we make it home safe to our families on Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday period," Cochran said, "Stay sober, drive defensively and buckle up."

Below are tips on how to ease the travel pain:

How to Ease the Pain

If you are flying, here are a few tips to make your trip as hassle-free as possible:

DELAYS
If bad weather delays your flight and you miss your connection, your airline will book you on the next available flight -- keep in mind that the next available flight might not be until the next day or later.
If you’re not happy with your rebooked flight, talk to a ticket agent. Also, call the airline directly. Consider calling the airlines international number if the lines are jammed.

Consider buying a one day ticket for the airline lounge. They’re typically about $50 extra, but come with free drinks, shorter lines and the friendliest service in the airport.

SEATING
There is a chance you and your loved ones might not sit together if you don’t already have seats together and don’t want to pay a fee.

Monitor the seat situation on your flight. ExpertFlyer.com offers free notifications when a window or aisle seat becomes vacant.

Check the airline’s website five days before you depart. That’s when airlines typically upgrade elite flyers to first class, freeing up coach seats.

Check 24 hours before your flight, and keep checking. Seats can be changed after check-in at airline kiosks and on some airlines’ mobile apps.

LUGGAGE
Weigh your luggage at home. Anything over the 50 pound limit garners a heavy charge--usually an extra $100.

Make sure to put a tag on your checked bags with your name, flight number and final destination. If you want to be extra careful, place a copy of your flight itinerary with your cellphone number inside your bag.

Don’t check necessities. a lost bag can take days to get back, if you get it back at all.

Pack a small canvas bag with your valuables and put it in your carry-on. If you’re asked to check your carry-on, keep your valuables with you.

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