California freeways, airports could see the most traveled holiday weekend in decades

The American Automobile Association expects the Memorial Day weekend to be the most traveled holiday weekend in almost 20 years. 

The agency projects more than 43 million people will travel at least 50 miles over the Memorial Day holiday travel period.  This year’s total number of travelers is a 4% increase over last year with numbers close to matching 2005’s record of 44 million Memorial Day travelers. 

AAA also predicts this will be the most crowded Memorial Day weekend at airports since 2005, when 3.64 million flew for the holiday as the travel industry finally rebounded post-9/11. 

Los Angeles International Airport is expected to draw more than 1.2 million passengers over the travel period representing about 86% of the passenger volume compared to March 2019, which was a record-setting year at the airport. 

According to the Automobile Club of Southern California, a record 3.5 million SoCal residents are expected to travel over the Memorial Day weekend surpassing the level from last year and the pre-pandemic record set in 2019.  The organization advises motorists hoping to avoid the worst traffic to leave metropolitan areas early Thursday and Friday and to stay off the roads between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday and Monday.


The California Highway Patrol announced it will implement a statewide traffic enforcement effort through the holiday.

Last year, the CHP recorded more than 1,100 arrests for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the 78-hour Memorial Day enforcement period, which is an average of an arrest every four minutes, officials said.  

The enforcement period begins at 6:01 p.m. on Friday and continues through 11:59 p.m. on Monday.