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Thanksgiving unfolds on SoCal freeways, airports

November 23, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
If you're hitting the road this Thanksgiving getaway, be prepared for plenty of company. One of the busiest travel days of the year is unfolding on our freeways and at our airports.

AAA says 42.5 million Americans are expected to travel this Thanksgiving- that's the highest number since the start of the recession at the end of 2007. And 90 percent of the travelers will be out on the road.

The increasing cost of airfare and gas isn't stopping many from traveling. In Los Angeles County the average price of regular unleaded is $3.76 a gallon, down from $3.83 last week. But it's up considerably from $3.14 last Thanksgiving.

Los Angeles International Airport is expected to be one of the busiest airports this Thanksgiving weekend, according to travel site Orbitz.

Airport officials said Thanksgiving Day will be very crowded because of changing trends. Many travelers are trying to take advantage of airfares being cheaper on the actual holiday. The busiest day of the weekend is expected to be Monday when travelers head home.

More than 40 million Americans will be travelling to meet family and friends. From Nov. 18, to Nov. 28 an estimated 1.8 million people will be traveling through LAX, which is up 16 percent from last year.

One change travelers will see at the airport is from traffic control officers. They're going to try something new called, NICE, Neutralize Irritations Customers Experience, which is an effort to make the traveling experience easier on everyone.

"We've taken the time to really do some training for our traffic officers and our police officers to help people to get in and out of the airport as quickly as possible when they're dropping off or picking up passengers," said LAX spokesperson Mary Grady.

Grady said instead of citations, officers will be handing out coupons for free coffee.

The Transportation Security Administration also said it's changing its procedures when it comes to families traveling with children. Passengers under 12 will experience less pat-downs, and kids no longer have to take off their shoes.

The TSA has a mobile app that provides information, such as what items travelers can bring on a plane or how to pack liquids.

Officials said you should arrive at the airport three hours before an international flight and two hours before a domestic flight.

As a way to save money and some frustration, airport officials urge travelers to use the Flyaway shuttle buses that leave from Van Nuys, downtown L.A. and Westwood.


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