The holiday travel frenzy at LAX is almost past us — well, the first wave, at least. The city's main hub for domestic and international flights estimates about 2.3 million travelers passed through its doors this Thanksgiving holiday travel period. That's an increase of 8.4 percent over last year’s record of 2.1 million passengers, according to LAX spokesperson Mary Grady.
That's pretty close to what the airport was anticipating this year. Grady told KPCC the busiest of the 11-day traveling period was the first day of the stretch, Nov. 18. As it comes to a close, Monday is expected to rank at the top of that list as well.
They’re expecting anywhere between 215,000 to 232,000 passengers Monday as folks fly back home. Over 100,000 vehicles are expected to pass through, up over the average of about 90,000.
Grady recommends using public transportation to and from the airport to avoid getting stuck in traffic.
"Passengers can really do their part to help reduce traffic congestion by taking shared ride public transportation to and from LAX, including the Metro rail Green Line and door-to-door shuttle vans," she said.
Of course, she added, the FlyAway buses are also always a viable option with stations across the city, including Hollywood, Long Beach and Union Station.
A handful of factors contributed to these record-breaking numbers. Grady said low oil prices and higher aircraft capacity definitely boosted the number of passengers.
A combination of new airlines that were introduced this year and last year to the airport also played a role in that. Even more airlines will be flying in during the coming year, which will no doubt affect future traveling seasons, Grady added.
“We’ve gotten through the Thanksgiving holiday rush, and now we’re preparing for Christmas,” Grady said.
Folks have a little bit less than a month to start preparing for the Christmas travel madness. This applies year-round, but to make it easier on yourself, always print boarding passes and check traffic before arriving at the airport.