LAX expects to break record for holiday travel (again) with 4.3 million passengers

- About 4.3 million passengers are expected to pass through Los Angeles International Airport during the holiday travel period that began Friday and will continue through Jan. 3, airport officials said Monday as they urged people to plan ahead and arrive early.

The estimated number of travelers is 9.5 percent higher than last year's record-setting 3.9 million passengers, according to Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that manages the airport.

The busiest days at the airport are expected to be Wednesday and Friday, with about 239,000 people expected to pass through LAX on those days. The slowest days will be Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve, with somewhere between 194,000 and 198,000 passengers expected.

On an average day at LAX, about 221,000 people pass through the airport.

LAX is expected to be the third-busiest airport in the country over the holiday season, behind Atlanta and Chicago, but the busiest origin-and-destination airport, meaning more passengers will start or end their travel at LAX than any other airfield.

Airport officials credited the boost in passenger traffic to an improved economy, cheaper air fares and the availability of additional seats.

Passengers were urged to arrive at least two hours ahead of boarding time for domestic flights and three hours ahead for international flights. With winter weather affecting many parts of the country, passengers were also urged to check with their airlines to ensure flights are not delayed or canceled.

People heading to the airport to pick up travelers were also urged to take advantage of cell phone waiting lot at 6221 W. 96th St., where people can park free for up to two hours while waiting for flights to arrive instead of circling the congested Central Terminal Area.

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