Traffic down significantly at LAX on what was once the busiest travel day of the year

The Sunday after Thanksgiving is normally one of the busiest travel days of the year, but 2020 is anything but normal.

Nicole Aguilar flew from Phoenix to LA to visit her family for the extended holiday weekend and was surprised by the lack of fellow travelers. “It’s a little weird, not going to lie!”

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She took all of the required safety precautions but still felt a little uneasy about traveling during a pandemic.

“I don’t want to get Covid cause then I would have to be away from work for a while and I don’t want to be that person. But I feel safe-ish,” she said.

LAX officials said that between November 24th-28th, traffic averaged just 31 percent from last year. On Saturday, 32,500 fliers passed through security checkpoints there - that’s 27 percent from the same day last year.

Ten-year-old Andrew Bautisca went to LAX to drop off some family members who had traveled to LA for the holiday. “It’s my first time coming here, so for me it seems very empty compared to the other ones I’ve been to,” he said while scanning the United Airlines terminal.

Lisa Hebert arrived at LAX from the East Coast and said she was very impressed with how airports, airlines, and fellow passengers have adapted. “It’s been relaxed, people are doing what they’re supposed to do, they’re being respectful, they’re listening to on-boarding and off-boarding on the flights,” she said, adding that she felt very safe. “I feel like everyone was doing what they’ve been asked, and the airlines - I mean, you can smell the clean.”

Despite fewer Thanksgiving travelers than in past years, Wednesday the 25th was the busiest flying day since the pandemic started despite COVID-19 case numbers and death tolls rising, according to the Associated Press.

Passengers arriving at LAX, Van Nuys Airport, and Union Station are also now required to sign a form acknowledging that they have read and understood California's travel advisory, which recommends a 14-day quarantine period for incoming travelers.

The form can be completed at prior to or on arrival.