Southern California

Holiday Travel: What to Know If You're Heading to LAX

Whether you're catching a flight or picking someone up at LAX, here's what to know

About 5.8 million people are expected to pass through Los Angeles International Airport during the 25-day holiday travel period that began in mid-December. That's up 1.2 percent from last year's holiday period.

The official 25-day travel period will continue through Jan. 7.

Whether you're catching a flight or picking someone up at LAX, here's what to know if you are part of that 5.8 million figure.

Scroll down for real-time traffic updates from LAX. Click here for driving directions to LAX

Busiest Travel Days

  • Dec. 26, when more than 255,000 travelers are expected at the airport
  • Dec. 21
  • Dec. 23

Lightest Travel Days

  • Dec. 25
  • Dec. 31 

Routes to Consider

Airport officials suggested that drivers heading to the airport, especially from the north, 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.

Entering the Airport

Airport officials recommended 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.

Picking Someone Up at LAX

  • You can park free for 15 minutes in all LAX parking structures -- just make sure you have the right terminal number.
  • If you're early and need to wait longer than 15 minutes, LAX has a cell phone waiting lot, where drivers can wait for arriving travelers to call. The waiting lot is at the northwest corner of 96th Street and Vicksburg Avenue. Look for the "LAX Cell Phone Waiting Lot" sign. You can wait for free, up to two hours. 

Getting There Without a Car

Travelers have options, 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.

The Automobile Club of Southern California predicts that 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.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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