LAX Forecasts Record 2.52 Million Passengers Over 11-Day Thanksgiving Travel Period

11/20/2018 12:09 PM

Busiest days are expected to be Sunday and Monday following the holiday.
For Immediate Release
November 20, 2018

Charles H. Pannunzio
(424) 646-5260

(Los Angeles, CA) With a record 2.52 million passengers expected at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) during the 11-day Thanksgiving travel period, L
os Angeles World Airports (LAWA) is reminding guests of a number of ways they can help make their experience as smooth as possible.

"At Los Angeles World Airports, we have a lot to be thankful for, especially our guests who are choosing to travel to and from our airports this holiday season," said Keith Wilschetz, Deputy Executive Director for Operations and Emergency Management, LAWA. "With a record number of passengers expected over the Thanksgiving holiday, we are adding additional volunteers and staff throughout our terminals to create a smoother journey and reminding travelers to give themselves additional time to reach their gates."

Airport officials recommend departing travelers factor in additional time for traffic congestion and arrive in their airline terminals at least two hours prior to boarding time for domestic flights and at least three hours before boarding time for international flights.

Los Angeles Airport Police Chief Dave Maggard, left, and Los Angeles World Airports Deputy Executive Director Keith Wilschetz spoke at a news conference on Tuesday morning.

The 11-day holiday period began Friday, November 16, and stretches through Monday, November 26. The projection of 2.52 million passengers is an increase of 4.25 percent over last year's record 2.42 million passengers. 
The busiest travel days will be the Monday after Thanksgiving, with more than 251,000 guests expected, and the Sunday after Thanksgiving, with nearly 249,000 traveler anticipated. Wednesday will be the third-busiest day, with 244,000 guests predicted. The slowest travel days are Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, with between 183,000 and 206,000 passengers expected.

In addition, nearly 1.13 million vehicles are expected on airport roadways during the holiday travel period. Sunday will be the busiest day, with 123,000 vehicles, followed by 120,000 on Wednesday and 118,000 on Monday.

"During this busy Thanksgiving holiday, the men and women of the Airport Police will be working hard to ensure that travelers move  quickly and safely through LAX so  they may celebrate with their loved ones at the end of their journey," said Dave Maggard, Chief, Los Angeles Airport Police.

As in past years, LAWA has imposed a holiday construction work moratorium, and no work that reduces lanes in the Central Terminal Area (CTA) will take place during the holiday travel period. Additionally, just in time for the holidays, the pick-up lane on the Lower/Arrivals Level between Terminals 1 and 2 has reopened. 

Los Angeles World Airports employee volunteers, the Team of LAXceptional Courtesy, will be on the sidewalks and in the terminals assisting guests during the busier travel days at LAX.

To help create a smoother and more efficient journey, LAWA employee volunteers comprising this year’s Team of LAXceptional Courtesy (TLC), will be in terminals and on sidewalks offering assistance and information to passengers. Volunteer Information Professionals (VIPs) will also be on hand to help answer questions, and LAX’s popular Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUPs) therapy dogs will be out in force providing comfort to those in need.

Wayfinding at LAX has gotten easier thanks to Apple Maps, which includes the interior of each of the nine terminals, as well as new signs directing pedestrians between the terminals on the north and south sides of the airport. 

New delicious and fresh LAX eats continue to open, offering guests a variety of local and national bands. Recent additions include a food court featuring Cassell's Hamburgers, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Pei Wei and Trejo's Tacos in Terminal 1; and Jersey Mike's in Terminal 2.

Passengers can do their part to help reduce traffic congestion by taking shared-ride public transportation to/from LAX, including: Metro Rail Green Line; door-to-door shuttle vans; and long-distance and municipal buses. The airport also offers inexpensive and convenient FlyAway® buses from Hollywood, Long Beach, Metro Orange Line (San Fernando Valley), Union Station, Van Nuys, and Westwood/UCLA. For passenger convenience, FlyAway buses accept TAP cards and EZ Passes.

Travelers can help reduce traffic congestion at LAX by using public transportation, shared-ride services or convenient FlyAway bus service.


Rather than circling the Central Terminal Area until arriving passengers reach terminal curbside for pick up, motorists can park and wait up to two hours free at the LAX Cell Phone Waiting Lot at 6221 W. 96th St. (96th Street and Vicksburg adjacent to the entrance of LAX Parking Lot C).

Motorists can also take advantage of the typically lighter traffic on the Lower/Arrivals Level during the early morning hours, where they can access the parking structures or drop off passengers who can then use elevators or escalators to reach the Upper/Departures Level.

LAX now has 30 Automated Screening Lanes, the most of any airport in the U.S., at Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints in the Tom Bradley International Terminals as well as Terminals 2, 3, 4 and 7.

To help speed their journeys, travelers are encouraged to enroll in TSA Pre√® or other trusted-traveler programs such as Customs & Border Protection’s Global Entry, which improve security and reduce wait times.

The public is reminded that LAX’s multibillion-dollar modernization program is still on-going. When coming to LAX, passengers should look for and follow way-finding signage near all construction sites to ensure their safety and to enhance mobility.

For real-time LAX traffic conditions, information on the status and locations of airport construction, “insider” traffic tips, and videos showing short-cuts, visit http://www.FlyLAX.comMotorists and travelers also can receive real-time status of airport conditions by accessing @FlyLAXairport and @LAAirportPD Twitter feeds. LAX is also on WAZE, the community-based traffic navigation app.


About Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
LAX, the fifth busiest airport in the world and second in the United States, was named in Skytrax’ 2018 top 10 U.S. airports. LAX served more than 84.56 million passengers in 2017 and offers 737 daily nonstop flights to 100 cities in the U.S. and 1,386 weekly nonstop flights to 88 cities in 44 countries on 73 commercial air carriers.  LAX ranks 13th in the world and fourth in the U.S. in air cargo tonnage processed, with more than 2.2 million tons of air cargo valued at over $101.4 billion.  LAX handled 700,362 operations (landings and takeoffs) in 2017.

An economic study based on 2014 operations reported LAX generated 620,600 jobs in Southern California with labor income of $37.3 billion and economic output (business revenues) of more than $126.6 billion. This activity added $6.2 billion to local and state revenues and $8.7 billion in federal tax revenues.  The study also reported that LAX’s ongoing capital-improvement program creates an additional 121,640 annual jobs with labor income of $7.6 billion and economic output of $20.3 billion, $966 million in state and local taxes, and $1.6 billion in federal tax revenues.

LAX is also the second most popular airport in the world to appear on Instagram according to LAX is part of a system of two Southern California airports – along with Van Nuys general aviation – that are owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports, a proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles that receives no funding from the City’s general fund.

For more information about LAX, please visit or follow on Twitter @flyLAXAirport, on Facebook at, and on YouTube at

As a covered entity under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the City of Los Angeles does not discriminate on the basis of disability and, upon request, will provide reasonable accommodation to ensure equal access to its programs, services, and activities.  Alternative formats in large print, braille, audio, and other forms (if possible) will be provided upon request. 

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