Los Angeles International and LA/Ontario International Airports (LAX and ONT) expect a busy summer travel season this year.
The summer travel season starts this Memorial Day weekend and continues through Labor Day.
During the Memorial Day holiday weekend, passenger volume is expected to be about the same as last year’s long holiday weekend. LAX expects to serve approximately 820,000 passengers, while approximately 92,000 passengers are expected at ONT, according to airport officials. The busiest travel days will be Friday, May 25th, and Monday, May 28th.
Airport officials forecast that during the summer travel period, between May 25th and September 5th, airlines will serve approximately 19.6 million passengers at LAX, up about 2.8 percent from last summer’s level. About 2.18 million passengers are expected at ONT, an increase of 1.9 percent over last summer.
Airlines will be offering approximately the same number of seats this summer as during the same period last year at both airports, officials say, and flights are expected to operate with average load factors of 82 percent at LAX and 75 percent at ONT.
“With the Memorial Day holiday weekend and the summer travel season upon us, Los Angeles World Airports, the airlines and federal agencies are continuing to work together to ensure a balance between the high level of security required for travelers’ safety and the convenience that they desire,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
“Travelers will find LAX passenger terminals busy and flights heavily booked as they make their way to a multitude of destinations,” said Samson Mengistu, acting executive director of Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the city department that owns and operates LAX, ONT and two other airports in Southern California.
“Airports, airlines and the federal agencies are prepared to ensure smooth operations during the summer while providing safety and security with improved customer service,” Mengitstu said.
Airport officials are advising passengers to arrive at LAX at least two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight. Passengers at ONT are advised to arrive 90 minutes before their flights.
Since the last two summer travel seasons, LAX has continued its program of customer satisfaction initiatives through 2008 that emphasize improved airport accessibility, passenger processing and terminal facilities.
LAX expects all of its parking facilities to have available space throughout the summer. This is partly due to the implementation of several ground access initiatives.
In March, the non-stop FlyAway bus service from Union Station to all nine LAX passenger terminals celebrated its one-year anniversary, with an annual total of 250,000 riders — more than three times the number predicted for the first year. The cost is $3 each way for adults, $2 for children two to 12 years old, and free for children under two.
The 20-mile ride uses freeway carpool lanes and averages 35 minutes. Five hundred parking spaces are available at Gateway Center Plaza for FlyAway customers at $6 a day for up to 30 days. The Union Station FlyAway averages nearly 685 passengers a day.
Given the success of the Union Station and long-established Van Nuys FlyAway routes, LAWA has announced the launch of non-stop LAX FlyAway service in Westwood beginning June 14. The FlyAway in Westwood — a drop-off and pickup location only — is located on Kinross Avenue, two blocks west of Westwood Blvd.
Valet parking service across from Terminal 4 on the Lower/Arrivals Level is for passengers of American Airlines in Terminal 4, Delta Airlines in Terminal 5, and the more than 30 airlines in the Tom Bradley International Terminal. A similar valet lot is located across from Terminal 6, convenient to United Airlines and Continental Airlines passengers. Both lots are well-lit, secure and open 24 hours a day, say airport officials. The daily rate is $38 or $10 per hour up to the maximum daily rate.
Passengers are also advised to tune car radios to AirRadio 530 AM, the official source for traffic and parking conditions, security measures, terminal conditions, and airline locations 24 hours a day.
Motorists who are picking up arriving passengers can save gas and parking by using the “FREE LAX Cell Phone Waiting Lot” at 9011 Airport Blvd. while waiting for arriving passengers.
Because many summertime passengers are infrequent travelers, airport officials are advising passengers to check the Transportation Security Administration Web site, www.tsa.gov,for up-to-date lists of prohibited items for checked luggage and carry-on bags.
The airports also offer several “Smart Traveler Tips” to help passengers process quickly through airline and security procedures at www.lawa.org/.