11/18/2020 11:00 AM

What to expect at LAX this holiday season.
Nov. 18, 2020

LAX Public Relations

(424) 646-5430

Technology, physical changes help passengers
Travel Safely at LAX 

A member of the LAX Travel Safely Ambassadors reminds guests that face coverings are mandatory at LAX. It's one of the many changes passengers will see this holiday season and beyond.

(Los Angeles, CA) To help stop the spread of COVID-19, city and state officials have said that people should avoid traveling for the holidays this year. For those who need to fly, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) wants passengers to understand the many new protocols, physical changes and technologies that will help them Travel Safely at LAX.


"Mayor Eric Garcetti has made it clear that if someone does not need to travel, they should not travel right now," said Justin Erbacci, Chief Executive Officer, LAWA. "However, for those who must travel this Thanksgiving season, we have invested in state-of-the-art technology that creates a more touchless journey, added advanced cleaning protocols to our terminals, mandated face coverings inside all of our facilities and made physical changes that help keep people separated and safe."


The 2020 Thanksgiving holiday travel period will be unlike any other in LAX's history. In 2019, a record-setting 3.21 million passengers used LAX during the two weeks surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday. The global pandemic's continuing impact on airports and airlines makes predicting holiday passenger traffic impossible this year. So far in November, passenger traffic has been about 30 percent compared to the same days last year, but traffic may increase during the holidays. 


While scheduled flights remain down significantly from last year, many airlines have added flights to the Thanksgiving holiday schedule in anticipation of more passengers during this time. Currently, the schedule calls for a total of about 11,000 flight operations at LAX from Nov. 18-30, an average of about 846 flights per day. For the same period last year, the total was 21,302 commercial passenger flights, with an average of 1,638 flights per day.


Many travelers will be coming to LAX for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, and there have been many changes designed to protect airport guests through a layered approach. Here's a look at what passengers should expect, and tips to ensure a successful airport journey this holiday season and beyond.

Click here to view a video showcasing the latest LAX travel experience, or click here to visit the LAX Travel Safely website for additional information and resources.
Key Tips for Success
  • Do not travel if you don't have to.

  • Do not come to the airport if you are sick.
  • Wear a face covering at all times. Face coverings are required at LAX for everyone. Most airlines also require a face covering on the aircraft, and refusal to wear one will likely result in being denied boarding. We now have Travel Safely Ambassadors working to remind guests to wear a face covering and provide a free one if needed. Click here to watch a video of the LAX Travel Safely Ambassadors in action.

  • Follow public health guidance and wash your hands frequently, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. LAX has provided 350 hand sanitizing stations for use throughout the airport. Use hand sanitizer when washing isn't possible. Avoid touching your face, mouth, nose eyes and ears. 

  • Remain physically distanced. While LAX has installed signage at security screening, along jet bridges, at baggage claims and other locations to help guests remain physically separated, it is everyone's individual responsibility to maintain a distance of six feet from one another at all times. Signage on elevators will indicate whether two or three people are allowed in the elevator at a time, depending on the size of the elevator (family groups are exempt from this limit). LAX requests that those who are able to take an escalator or stairs do so, so the elevators can be reserved for those who need them.

  • Check in online with your airline before you leave for the airport. This prevents the need to interact with a check-in kiosk. If you are traveling without checked luggage, you can skip the ticket counters entirely this way.

  • Check parking options ahead of time. Real-time parking availability within the LAX Central Terminal Area (CTA) parking structures is available here. Parking structures could fill up at any time, so be aware of off-airport private lots as alternatives. Economy Lot E remains closed. 

  • Parking and traffic updates are available 24/7 via the automated @FlyLAXstats Twitter feed.

  • Picking someone up? Curbside pickup and drop-off is permitted on the Upper/Departures and Lower/Arrivals levels. All parking structures are free for the first 15 minutes, and Terminal B (Tom Bradley International Terminal) pickup area is also free to use. To access the Terminal B pickup, use the second entrance to Parking Structure 3 from World Way North on the Lower/Arrivals Level. This area is for passenger loading only with no parking allowed.

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

  • According to TSA, baked goods and other solid foods are allowed in carry-on luggage. This includes breads, cookies, candies and meat. However, jams, jellies, sauces, gravies or other liquids need to be in quantities of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less to travel in carry-on luggage. Anything over 3.4 ounces needs to be placed in a checked bag. For additional guidance, please visit the TSA's "What Can I Bring?" website.
Touchless Travel and New Technology


LAX has implemented a number of new technologies and processes that help reduce the need to touch common surfaces along the airport journey. These include:

  • Touchless faucets: Hundreds of restroom faucets and a handful of drinking fountains have been converted to touchless activation. They can be turned on by waving a hand.

  • UV-C Light: The airport is piloting the use of Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) lights to kill bacteria and viruses on escalator handrails and in restrooms.

  • LAX Order Now:  This recently launched program that allows LAX guests to browse, order, pay for and pickup food from any of the airport's terminals using an online order system. The new service is part of LAX's digital marketplace strategy to enhance the travel experience, by allowing guests to search, browse and order food and non-alcoholic beverages from any of the dozens of participating restaurants across the airport. It also provides a way for passengers to order and pick up food without having physical contact with another person. Remember, guests can remove face covering off to eat or drink, but must put them back on when finished. Click here to view a video explaining the new LAX Order Now service.

  • Simplified Arrival: This new enhanced international arrival process uses facial biometrics to automate the manual document checks that are already required for admission into the United States. This process provides travelers with a touchless process that further secures and streamlines international arrivals while fulfilling a longstanding congressional mandate to biometrically record the entry and exit of non-U.S. citizens. This new technology is in use for arriving international travelers.

  • ID Scanners: LAX is among 50 U.S. airports in which the TSA is using new Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) in which passengers insert their photo ID into a reader without needing to exchange documents or show a boarding pass at security screening checkpoints.

  • Air quality: LAX has in place a rigorous air quality program that predates the COVID-19 pandemic. The air quality program includes MERV 8 pre-filter, charcoal filters where appropriate to remove odors and a MERV13 final filter. Most existing and all newer air handling units have UV light protection and ionization to protect against pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. HVAC systems provide an average of 10 air changes per hour. Public restrooms receive an estimated 15 air changes per hour, and pet relief areas located indoors receive 30 air changes per hour.

  • Personal Protective Equipment: Guests at LAX now have access to personal protective equipment (PPE) such as hand sanitizer, face coverings and gloves via convenient vending machines located in the ticketing areas of most terminals. Each machine offers touch-free payment including Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. All of the items available in the machines are TSA compliant and can be brought through any of the TSA security screening checkpoints. Click here for a video of the new PPE vending machines.

  • Touch-free elevators: As a pilot program, elevators in Terminal 1 are now programmed to stop automatically at every floor, preventing the need for guests to touch individual buttons.
Physical Changes

In addition to new technologies, the airport has made several physical changes as well:

  • COVID-19 tests: COVID-19 tests are now available for purchase inside the Tom Bradley International Terminal along Aisle C, and at information booths on the Lower/Arrivals Level of Terminals 2 and 6. These tests provide results within 24 hours. An additional, on-site testing center is scheduled to open in early December across from Terminal 6 on the Lower/Arrivals level. Click here for additional details.

  • Cleaning: Cleaning crews are on site 24/7 and armed with hospital-grade cleaning products that kill bacteria and viruses. High-touch surfaces are routinely cleaned, and crews are also using advanced electrostatic sprayers to clean surfaces even more deeply.

  • Barriers: To help reduce physical contact throughout the airport, LAX and its partners have installed hundreds of new Plexiglas and acrylic barriers at airline ticket counters and other locations around the airport.

  • TSA dividers: As part of its national "Stay Healthy, Stay Secure" campaign, the TSA has installed new acrylic barriers and associated equipment at TSA’s security checkpoints at LAX. These installations provide additional physical barriers between TSA officers and the traveling public at document checking podiums and along conveyor belts. 

  • Announcements and signs: Guests will see and hear updated signage and overhead announcements throughout the airport. Reminders include that face coverings are required, the importance of physical distancing and other tips for navigating LAX.
Navigating Construction

The public is reminded that LAX’s $14.5 billion modernization program continues. When coming to LAX, passengers should look for and follow wayfinding signage near all construction sites to ensure their safety and to enhance mobility. For more information, visit www.FlyLAX.com.


LAX is also under much heavier construction within the CTA compared to the same time last year, which means there will be additional road work and detours around certain areas. Be prepared to drive slowly and with caution around work zones. A construction moratorium will be in place on the following dates: Nov. 26 and 27, Dec. 24 and 25, and Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.

Know Your Destination's Rules

Many destinations, both international and domestic, have implemented travel restrictions or rules for visitors.
Knowing the current rules for your destination is essential this year.


For international travel, consult the U.S. State Department or individual country embassy and consulates for current restrictions and guidance. 


For domestic travel, resources on current restrictions may include state health department or individual city government websites. A list of state-by-state Thanksgiving holiday travel restrictions is being kept by the New York Times.


There are no current travel restrictions to California or the City of Los Angeles. However, the Governor and Mayor have recommended that individuals refrain from non-essential travel and quarantine for 14 days upon return to the state. Visitors should also call ahead to their intended destinations to learn about local restrictions. A comprehensive list of California travel sites is available via Visit California. Information about travel to Los Angeles is available via Discover Los Angeles

Catching a Ride

FlyAway® bus service is available to and from Union Station and Van Nuys, with parking available at both locations. Fares are $9.75 one way. For pick-up at LAX, the FlyAway buses make use of dedicated inner lanes on the Lower/Arrivals Level.  In time for the Thanksgiving holiday, and continuing into 2021, nine additional trips in each direction will be available on the Van Nuys route, with buses leaving Van Nuys for LAX every 20 minutes (rather than on the half-hour) between 5-9 a.m. and 2-7 p.m. Buses from LAX to Van Nuys will depart every 20 minutes between 6-10 a.m. and 3-8 p.m. For more information on FlyAway, including a real-time bus tracker, visit www.LAXFlyAway.org.

Municipal buses from LA Metro, Beach Cities Transit, Culver City, Santa Monica (Big Blue Bus) and Torrance serve the LAX City Bus Center, located on 96th Street, and connect to the CTA via the free LAX "Lot South/City Bus Center" Shuttle, which stops on the Lower/Arrivals Level. In the CTA, the LAX "Lot South/City Bus Center" Shuttle arrives and departs from stops labeled “Employee Lot South/LAX City Bus Center.”
LAX also offers the free LAX "G" Shuttle to and from the Aviation/LAX Metro Station, which serves the LA Metro Green Line (light rail) at Imperial Highway and Aviation Boulevard. The Green Line connects to the Silver Line (Bus Rapid Transit) and A Line (light rail, formerly the Blue Line) for service to downtown Los Angeles. LAX shuttle drivers may ask for proof of payment via a TAP card for guests heading to the airport.
The cell phone waiting lot remains open to the public at the corner of Vicksburg Avenue and 96th Street. Motorists can park for up to two hours, then drive to the CTA when their guests have arrived.
Guests who are leaving LAX via taxi or ride app vehicles (Uber, Lyft, Opoli) can walk to the LAX-it lot at 9610 Sky Way, across from Terminal 1, or take one of the LAX-it shuttles from stops located on the Lower/Arrivals Level. Shuttles arrive every 3-5 minutes and stop at no more than two terminals. At the LAX-it lot, guests will find taxis as well as ride app vehicles. In addition to LAX-it, taxis can also pick up passengers from the Terminal B Pick-Up Area within Parking Structure 3 and from the Lower/Arrivals level outside of the baggage claim area of Terminal 7. Taxi and ride app vehicles continue to drop off guests curbside on the Upper/Departures Level. 
Getting Help

LAX guests can find help at a number of places throughout their journey, including without having to interact in-person with a guest experience member. 
  • By phone: Guests may call (855) 463-5252 for assistance during business hours, or email infoline@lawa.org to receive a response within one business day.

  • In person: A team of LAXceptional Courtesy workers will be at the terminals to assist with airport navigation, information, encouraging face coverings and thanking guests with a LAX-themed gift, while supplies last. This team will be deployed Nov. 24, Nov. 25, Nov. 30, Dec. 18 and Dec. 23 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

  • Restroom feedback: By pointing their smartphone camera at one of the QR codes on new signs installed at all restrooms, airport guests can provide fast feedback about the restroom via a drop-down menu or open comment option. Guests can also include a photo of the issue. All of this information is delivered to a maintenance dispatch center in real time. The new service is available in all 213 restrooms at LAX, including all-gender and nursing rooms.

  • Hearing impaired services: Passengers with impaired vision may use the Aira real-time navigation service, which is free to use at LAX. Guests can download Aira for free from the App Store on their Apple device or from Google Play on their Android device.

  • Online: An online, automated chatbot is available 24/7 to help answer common questions about LAX.

About Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

LAX, the third-busiest airport in the world and second busiest in the United States in 2019, is in the midst of a $14.3-billion capital improvement program that will touch on all nine passenger terminals and build new facilities, including an Automated People Mover (APM) train, Consolidated Rent-A-Car (ConRAC) facility and a 12- to 15-gate Midfield Satellite Concourse (MSC) addition to the Tom Bradley International Terminal.


In 2019, LAX served nearly 88.1 million passengers and offered an average of 700 daily nonstop flights to 113 destinations in the U.S. and 1,200 weekly nonstop flights to 91 markets in 46 countries on 72 commercial airlines.


LAX generates 620,600 jobs in Southern California, with labor income of $37.3 billion and economic output (business revenues) of more than $126.6 billion, according to an economic study based on 2014 operations. 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 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 (LAWA), a proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles that receives no funding from the City's general fund.


LAWA is leading the aviation industry in sustainability practices, with initiatives related to water management, energy (electricity) management, air quality, recycling and natural resources management. In 2019, LAX received Level III ACI Airport Carbon Accreditation from Airport Councils International-Europe.


LAWA is also a leader in inclusivity, operating eight programs that provide opportunities for business enterprises including local, small, minority-owned, veteran-owned and disadvantaged firms, and working together with community partners to offer the HireLAX Apprenticeship Readiness Program, which targets local workers to make them ready for rewarding careers in the construction trades, and the Build LAX Academy, designed to prepare small contracting businesses for success when working on projects at LAX.


LAX was named a top-10 U.S. airport by SKYTRAX in 2018, and was honored as the "Most Innovative Airport for Passenger Experience" in 2019 by the American Association of Airport Executives. LAX is the second-most popular airport in the world to appear on Instagram, according to wego.com. Other recent honors have included selection as the No. 9 Best Airport (Wall Street Journal); No. 7 Best On-Time Performance for a Mega-Hub Airport (OAG); one of "The World's Best Airports for Business Travelers" (GlobeHunters); Public-Private Partnership of the Year (P3 Bulletin); Urth Caffe, Best Airport Coffee Concession of the Year (Global FAB Awards); Innovation of the Year, Consolidated Rent-A-Car Facility (ARTBA); Best Project, United Airlines Terminal 7 and 8 Redevelopment Program (Engineering News Record California); North American Public-Private Partnership Deal of the Year (IJ Global); and Innovative Transportation Solution of the Year, Automated People Mover (WTS LA).

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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