Holiday travel ramps up at LAX, approaching pre-pandemic levels

Local news

With the holidays just around the corner, the Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday was expected to record one of its busiest days of this year’s holiday travel season.

On Sunday, LAX officials expected up to 200,000 travelers to use the airport.

The holiday travel period started Thursday, and airport officials warned people to arrive early for several reasons.

As travel returns to its pre-pandemic levels this holiday season, the Automobile Club of Southern California previously said that the year-end holidays will be the third busiest on record for Southern California.

Up to 3.5 million travelers are expected to pass through LAX between Dec. 17 and Jan. 3.

While that figure is still less than the 4.5 million travelers seen at LAX during the same time in 2019, it’s much higher compared to the 1.85 million passengers that went through the airport this time last year.

“Friday was the busiest day for TSA at LAX since early 2020,” LAX officials tweeted on Saturday. “That trend will continue each Sunday for the next three weeks, with busy days in between.”

After Sunday, peak travel days at LAX are expected again on Dec. 26 and Jan. 2, when more than 200,000 passengers are expected during each of the days.

The mad crush of people at LAX has some holiday travelers using other local airports, such as the Hollywood Burbank Airport, formerly known as the Bob Hope Airport.

Meanwhile, nearly 8.8 million Southern Californians are expected to travel for the holidays, compared to 9.3 million in 2019, according to the Automobile Club.

The majority of Southern Californians plan to travel by car, and they will be faced with gas prices at their highest level ever for this time of year, AAA said in a news release.

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