(Los Angeles) Travelers who plan ahead this winter holiday season for their airport journey will have a guaranteed parking space, cruise through security (yes, pie is allowed as a carry-on item) and arrive with plenty of time to enjoy a pumpkin-spice indulgence. Those who do not, however, are at risk of getting Scrooged.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is forecasting a busy Thanksgiving holiday travel period that is expected to draw an average of more than 200,000 passengers per day, from Nov. 17 through Nov. 28, and as many as 97,000 vehicles in a single day. This is expected to be an increase of roughly 20,000 passengers per day compared with the same time last year and is roughly 80-90% compared to the record-setting 2019 totals.
Although overall passenger numbers are slightly behind 2019, LAX parking garages have seen historic use this year, with more people choosing to drive and park at the airport than ever before. That means garage spaces will have extremely limited drive-up availability and travelers are highly encouraged to reserve a space online ahead of time. Travelers also are asked to consider using alternative transportation including the LAX FlyAway, or get dropped off at the LAX Economy Parking Facility and use the free terminal shuttle there. LAX Economy Parking offers a 24-hour, frequent and free shuttle service from the facility to the terminals, and uses a dedicated lane within the Central Terminal Area to provide the fastest service possible.
"LAX is ready to welcome guests for what is expected to be the busiest holiday travel period since 2019, and we are asking travelers to do their part to create a stress-free experience by planning their parking, arriving extra early and taking time to relax at the gate instead of circling with traffic," said Justin Erbacci, Chief Executive Officer, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA). "Our parking garages will be full and traffic will be heavy, so we are providing the tools for travelers to plan ahead for the best experience."
Those tools include LAX's popular Parking.FlyLAX.com pre-book service, which allows guests to book a space in the LAX Economy Parking facility, as well as the Central Terminal Area garages. Pre-booking allows travelers to have a guaranteed space. Due to expected demand, these spaces are likely to sell out so passengers are encouraged to book their parking as soon as possible.
Passengers traveling with United Airlines or Southwest Airlines may also participate in the LAX Fast Lane program, which allows travelers using participating terminals (Terminals 1, 7 and 8) to reserve a 15-minute window at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening areas for the fastest service using a dedicated lane, at no cost. This pilot program was extended to include Terminal 1 and Southwest Airlines just in time for the holiday travel season. The LAX Fast Lane is operational in Terminal 7-8 and will begin in Terminal 1 on Friday, Nov. 18.
Departing guests are advised to allow additional time to reach the airport, clear security and reach their gates. Guests should plan to arrive in the terminal at least two hours before the boarding time for domestic flights and three hours before the boarding time for international flights. During peak days, the airport recommends adding more time based on current traffic conditions. TSA has scheduled its resources and staff to ensure that all available airport checkpoint lanes are open, staffed and operational during peak travel times. Generally, the busiest times at the security checkpoints at LAX are early morning from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. and again 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Mid-afternoons can also be busy as well as evenings at the Tom Bradley International Terminal.