Officials at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) advise travelers to plan ahead for heavy traffic at the airport during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Airlines serving LAX expect approximately 1.8 million passengers for Thanksgiving holiday travel between Friday, November 19th, and Monday, November 29th — an 11 percent increase in passengers from last year — LAX officials say.

While this year’s Thanksgiving passenger volume is expected to be higher than last year’s 1.6 million passengers, the volume is still below the record-breaking level of two million passengers during Thanksgiving 2000.

It will be the busiest Thanksgiving holiday travel period since September 11th, 2001, airport officials say.

Airport officials recommend that passengers departing during LAX daily peak travel periods from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., arrive in their ticketing lobbies two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight.

The busiest travel days are expected to be Wednesday, November 24th; Thanksgiving morning Thursday, November 25th; and Sunday, November 28th, with airlines predicting passenger loads of nearly 100 percent.

Airport officials recommend several “Smart Traveler” tips for holiday travelers including:

Before arriving at LAX, passengers should remember:

– Do not pack or bring prohibited items to LAX, especially those that resemble any type of weapon.

– Leave gifts or large boxes unwrapped for inspection.

– Save time at check-in by obtaining boarding passes electronically from airline Internet Web sites, especially if traveling with carry-on bags only.

– For travelers with early-morning flights, consider getting to the airport the night before.

While at the airport, travelers should remember:

– To take advantage of the convenient two hours of free parking available in Economy Parking Lots B and C and take the free LAX shuttle buses to the terminals to meet arriving passengers.

– That passenger drop-off and pickup are allowed at terminal curbside only. Arriving passengers should be met in baggage claim areas on the Lower/Arrivals Level.

– That all metals, including jewelry, loose change, keys, mobile phones and pagers, should be placed inside carry-on bags.

– Not to agree to watch the luggage or personal belongings of strangers.

Information, www.lawa.org or (888) 544-9444.

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