The holiday travel period has already begun, but Los Angeles International Airport officials warned Tuesday that the major rush is still to come.
Airport officials said 5.9 million people are expected to pass through the airport during the Christmas and New Year's holiday travel period, which began last Friday and will continue through Jan. 6.
The busiest -- or "super peak" days -- are expected to include Thursday, Sunday, Monday, the day after Christmas, Dec. 29 and Dec. 30.
Local news from across Southern California
Airport officials said the real travel crunch will begin Thursday, when more than 247,000 people are expected to descend on the airport. As usual, authorities urged travelers to bring plenty of patience, and to arrive early.
Parking is also likely to be tight at the airport, so travelers should check LAX's @FlyLAXstats Twitter feed to get real-time updates on availability of spaces. Travelers are also being urged to take alternate forms of transportation to the airport, such as FlyAway bus service from Hollywood, Union Station and Van Nuys.
Transportation Security Administration officials also advised passengers to be patient, and to adhere to requirements for carry-on items to keep screening lines moving.
"TSA here at LAX expects to screen more than 2.3 million travelers leading up to the Christmas holiday through the first week of January," Keith Jeffries, TSA federal security director at LAX, said. "And as always, TSA will be working closely with our airport, airline and law enforcement partners to ensure a smooth operation during this busy season."
Most notably, TSA officials said people traveling with Christmas presents should leave them unwrapped, because such packages are subject to search.