Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is expected to serve 2.35 million passengers this year-end holiday season – down 14 percent compared to last year, in response to airlines offering fewer flights and seats due to reduced demand.
At LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT) holiday passenger volume is expected to be 225,000 – down 29 percent compared to last year, primarily due to cessation of service by ExpressJet and JetBlue.
The year-end holiday travel period covers Friday, Dec. 19 through Friday, Jan. 2, 2009. The busiest days at each airport are expected to be Friday, Dec. 19; Monday, Dec. 22; Friday, Dec. 26; and Friday, Jan. 2.
Airport officials are not surprised by the year-over-year decline in passengers and flights, as airlines had already announced significant cutbacks starting last fall.
LAX officials recommend passengers departing LAX during the daily peak travel periods – from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.; from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; or from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. – to be in their airline’s ticketing lobbies two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights. Travelers at ONT are urged to arrive at the airport 1-1/2 hours before domestic flights and two hours before international flights serving Mexico.
Passengers should check with their airlines before coming to the airport because several airlines have changed terminal locations since last year. Winter weather in other parts of the country may cause departure delays.
Passenger services at airports operated by LAWA to expedite travel this holiday season include:
• 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 circling the Central Terminal Area. Motorists can wait in this well-lit parking lot for arriving passengers to call by cell phone to pick them up.
• The LAX FlyAway provides non-stop bus service from Union Station, Van Nuys, and Westwood. The fares for the frequently scheduled buses are $4 each way for adults; $2 each way for children 2 to 12 years; and free for infants under 2 years. Covered parking is available at Van Nuys for $4 per day and at Union Station’s Gateway Center Plaza for $6 per day. Limited weekend parking is available at Westwood. NOTE: Fares will increase on Jan. 1, 2009 to $6 each way for adults at Union Station and Van Nuys; $5 each way for adults at Westwood; $4 each way for seniors 65 years and older and disabled/Medicare individuals; and free for infants under 2 years. For information about fares and service hours, visit www.lawa.aero/flyaway.
• AiRadio 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 upcoming holidays, LAX AiRadio at 530 AM will broadcast live from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Jan. 4, 2009. On-air broadcasts are streamed onto LAX’s Internet website at www.lawa.org.
• LA/Ontario International Airport conditions are broadcast over ONT AiRadio 770 AM every day, 24 hours a day.
• Electronic charging stations at boarding gates in airport terminals are available so travelers can recharge for free their mobile phones, laptops and other personal electronic items while waiting to board flights.
• reLAX Lounge in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX on the mezzanine level offers travelers a comfortable and relaxing waiting area, with refreshments and business services such as wireless internet access, faxing, photocopying and printing. Travelers pay $10 for a one hour use; $25 for a three-hour use; and $35 for a 5-hour use. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily. For information, visit www.relaxlounge.weebly.com.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) provides a convenient list of permitted and prohibited items permitted as carry-on items and those that must be placed in checked luggage that is available on its website www.tsa.dhs.gov.
Of special note, popular seasonal gifts such as snow globes fall into the category of liquids that cannot be packed in carry-on bags. Presents also should not be gift-wrapped, whether in checked or carry-on bags. Passengers traveling overseas for the holidays are also advised to review customs regulations on what can be brought into the United States at http://www.dhs.gov/.