Los Angeles International Airport bracing for busy holiday season

2.24 million passengers will pass through airport during two week period

Tom Tucker, CBS Local 2 Morning Anchor, thomas.tucker@cbslocal2.com
POSTED: 06:23 AM PST Dec 21, 2012 
LAX Los Angeles International Airport
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -

An estimated 2.24 million passengers will pass  through Los Angeles International Airport during the holiday travel season,  which begins in earnest today and ends Jan. 2.
      That's a 5.4 percent increase over the same 13-day holiday travel period  last year at LAX, the nation's third-largest airport.
      The busiest travel days are expected to be today through Sunday; Friday,  Dec. 28; and Wednesday, Jan. 2. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are expected  to be the lightest travel days at LAX.
      Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that manages the airport,  plans to flood LAX with volunteers to assist with the large volume of  travelers.
      Volunteers will be wearing red vests and roaming the departures-level  curbsides and airline ticketing lobbies beginning today.
      Around 540,000 arriving and departing travelers - nearly a quarter of  the holiday period passenger load - are expected at LAX through Sunday, said  airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles.  
      Passengers with departures scheduled for peak travel times of 6 a.m. to  9 a.m., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. should expect congestion and  plan on arriving at their terminals two hours early for domestic flights and  three hours before international departures.
      LAX officials also cautioned travelers that a blizzard moving across the  Midwest could cause delays affecting flights in and out of LAX and urged them  to check the status of their flights before coming to the airport.
      Flights bound for Chicago O'Hare International Airport, a major travel  hub, were already being halted Thursday, according to the Federal Aviation  Administration's website.
      Six flights Chicago-bound flights out of LAX were cancelled Thursday,  Castles said.
      She advised travelers to sign up on airlines' websites for automatic  flight status notifications, which can be received via text, email or telephonically and for outbound travelers to print online boarding passes,  which can eliminate waits of up to 45 minutes at ticket counters.