Passenger volumes at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT) are expected to be lower this Thanksgiving holiday travel season than last year, airport officials predict.
Airlines are offering fewer seats and flights this holiday period compared to last year, as they adjust their flight schedules due to higher costs and fewer reservations.
Airport officials said they are not surprised by this season’s “year-over-year decline” in passengers and flights, as the airline industry had already announced significant cutbacks starting this fall. Still, officials predicted sizable passenger volumes on the most popular days and times for air travel during the ten-day Thanksgiving travel period through Sunday, November 30th.
LAX is expected to serve 1.6 million passengers for the holiday period, which is a 14.3-percent drop from the 1.85 million passengers in 2007, due to cuts in flights and the number of available seats by the air carriers, airport officials said.
The busiest days at each airport were expected to be November 21st, Wednesday, November 26th, and Sunday, November 30th, with airlines forecasting passenger load factors approaching 90 percent on most flights and some flights fully booked.
Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that operates LAX, is joined by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other agencies in recommending travel tips to passengers.
Airport officials suggest passengers departing LAX during the daily peak travel periods — from 6 to 9 a.m., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 7 to 10 p.m. — to be in their airline’s ticketing lobbies two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights.
A number of airlines have changed terminal locations since last year and it is suggested that passengers check with their airline for their current location or the airport site, www.lawa.org/.
In an effort to reduce traffic in and around LAX, airport staff encourage the use of the LAX Cell Phone Waiting Lot and the LAX FlyAway nonstop airport bus service. The LAX Cell Phone Lot, located at 9011 Airport Blvd., is open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and offers a free alternative to busy airport traffic. Instead of circling the Central Terminal Area, motorists can wait in this free, well-lit parking lot for their arriving passengers to call them by cell phone and then drive to terminal curbside to pick up their passengers.
LAX AiRadio 530 AM is the only broadcast source of up-to-the-minute information on airport conditions, traffic on the freeways and roadways near and in the airport, parking, airline terminal locations and security. During the holidays, the radio station will broadcast live from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. through November 30th. On-air broadcasts are streamed onto the airport’s Internet Web site, www.lawa.org/.
Among the new services at the airport are electronic charging stations at boarding gates in airport terminals that allow travelers to recharge their mobile phones, laptops and other personal electronic items for free while waiting to board flights.
The reLAX public lounge in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX is scheduled to open December 4th on the mezzanine level.