LOS ANGELES -

With the holiday travel period starting in earnest today, more than 2.6 million travelers are expected to move through Los Angeles International Airport during this holiday season, up 8.2 percent from last year, according to airport officials.

Officials at LAX -- considered the sixth busiest airport in the world -- anticipate the days with the highest passenger volume will be today and Saturday; Dec. 26, 27, and 29; and Jan. 2. The lowest volume days will likely be Dec. 24, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

The busy holiday travel period is expected to last from today through Jan. 2, officials said. During this time, flights are expected to be at 90 percent capacity.

Last year, 2.4 million travelers passed through LAX. The increased projection for this year is based on more seats being available due to airlines using larger planes and adding super-jumbo jet flights this year, officials said.

Passengers departing from LAX during the peak hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. are advised to show up at their airline ticketing lobby two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights.

Terminals are expected to be packed during those peak times. To avoid lines, be sure to check in ahead of time on the airlines' websites, airport officials said.

Volunteer helpers in red vests will be dispatched throughout the airport
to assist passengers, with added volunteers and staff will be assigned to
customer service counters and meet-and-greet areas. Trained therapy dogs and
their handlers will also be around to cheer up weary or stressed travelers.

People picking up passengers can park themselves at a free "LAX Cell Phone Waiting Lot'' on 96th Street and Vicksburg Avenue next to the entrance of Lot C while they wait for travelers to arrive at curbside.

LAX has also made available a map of traffic conditions around the airport at this website:  http://www.lawa.org/laxtrafficmaps.aspx