More than 1.75 million travelers are expected to pass through Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) during the annual year-end holiday season that began Friday, December 22nd, and continues through Tuesday, January 2nd.

The holiday-period total this year at LAX is expected to rival, but not exceed, last year’s count of 1.77 million passengers, according to Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) officials.

LAWA is the City of Los Angeles department that owns LAX, LA/Ontario International Airport, LA/Palmdale Regional Airport and Van Nuys Airport.

Airport officials believe passenger volumes have not increased this year because load factors were at record levels last year and airlines have not added capacity, due to high fuel costs and a desire to increase profitability.

The busiest travel days during this holiday period were expected to be the three days before Christmas and the weekend ending Tuesday, January 2nd, when airlines are forecasting almost full to maximum capacity on most of their flights.

Airport officials recommend that passengers departing LAX during daily peak travel periods — from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. — arrive at their airline ticketing lobby two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights.

Travelers using LAX will experience new passenger amenities such as valet parking at Lots 4 and 6 across from Terminals 4 and 6 on the Lower/Arrivals Level.

Other LAX amenities include:

n four more passenger screening lanes, added in an effort to expedite passage through the security lines; bringing the total number of screening lanes at LAX to 68, the most at any U.S. airport;

n “Zip Through LAX,” a program that provides plastic bags to travelers to hold coins, cell phones, keys, pens and other metallic items in order to facilitate passenger security screening; with bag dispensers located in all terminals; and

n the LAX Cell Phone Waiting Lot, at 9011 Airport Boulevard, to help motorists avoid traffic congestion in the Central Terminal Area by offering a free waiting alternative where motorists can wait for arriving passengers to call them on their cell phones and then drive to the curbside for pickup.

Motorists driving to LAX can obtain the latest information on airport conditions, freeway/road conditions in and around the two airports, current security status, available parking and airline terminal locations 24 hours a day on LAX AiRadio at 530 AM.

Information on all of the services and amenities available to passengers at LAX can be found at www.lawa.org

A comprehensive list of what passengers can and cannot pack in checked luggage or carry onboard is available at www.tsa.gov

Airport security officials also remind passengers of the federal air travel “3-1-1 rule” for liquids, gels and aerosols in carry-on bags: 3-ounce or smaller size containers of liquids, gels or aerosols can be placed in a one-quart size clear plastic zip-top bag, with one bag permitted per traveler.

BEFORE GOING TO LAX

LAX officials offer the following “Smart Traveler” tips for a hassle-free trip. Before arriving at LAX, passengers should:

n not pack or bring prohibited items to LAX, especially those that resemble any type of weapon. Replicas of guns, lighters shaped like guns, belt buckles shaped like grenades, and other similar items delay passenger or checked-luggage screening while officials determine whether or not these items are real;

n leave gifts or large boxes unwrapped for inspection;

n wear footwear that can be easily removed for passenger security screening;

n pack liquids, gels and/or aerosols in carry-on bags in three-ounce-size or smaller containers that can fit easily in a one-quart-size plastic zip-top bag; one bag permitted per passenger;

n save time at check-in by obtaining boarding passes electronically from airlines’ Internet Web sites, especially if traveling with carry-on bags only;

n eliminate the hassles of driving and parking at the airport by taking shared-ride alternative transportation such as taxis, door-to-door shuttle vans, Van Nuys and Union Station FlyAway buses, public buses and the Metro Rail Green Line;

n because of varying winter weather conditions across the country, check with airlines before leaving for the airport to ensure that a flight is on time; and

n tune to LAX AiRadio at 530 AM on the dial to listen to the latest information on airport and freeway/roadway conditions near and in the airport, airline terminal locations, current security conditions and parking availability.

WHILE AT THE AIRPORT

While at the airport, travelers should remember:

n Drop-off and pickup are allowed at terminal curbside only, not in the middle of traffic or along prohibited curbs. Motorists cannot park or wait for passengers at curbside. Ask to be met or picked up in baggage claim areas or terminal curbside on the Lower/Arrivals Level after claiming checked luggage.

n Advise motorists meeting arriving passengers to take advantage of the two hours free parking available in Economy Lots B and C and take the free LAX shuttle buses to the terminals. They can also wait at no cost at the LAX Cell Phone Waiting Lot, at 9011 Airport Blvd.

n Place metallic items inside carry-on bags or the clear, plastic zip-top bags provided by LAX at passenger screening checkpoints. Metal items include large watches, coins, keys, mobile phones, pens, pagers and personal digital assistants.

n Remove outerwear, including suit jackets, sweaters and sweatshirts, at passenger screening checkpoints.

n Do not agree to watch strangers’ luggage or personal belongings.

n Watch personal belongings at all times.

n Report suspicious behavior to law enforcement or Transportation Security Administration personnel.

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