Record 3.5M travelers to pass through LAX this holiday season

Friday, December 18, 2015
Travelers stand in line at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, Dec. 18, 2015.
Travelers stand in line at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, Dec. 18, 2015.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A record 3.5 million travelers are expected to pass through Los Angeles International Airport between Friday and Jan. 3, making it the busiest airport in the country this time of year.

That number is almost 7.9 percent more than last year.

One thing travelers can expect is increased security, especially in light of what happened recently in San Bernardino.

"For the holiday seasons, because it's so packed and everybody is traveling right now, security is being tighter just because there's more people," said Rebecca Burten, a traveler. "I've been pretty lucky. I have TSA Pre, so I've just been able to slide right through."

Because of the extra security and the crowds, airport officials are recommending travelers to get there two hours before their flight and three hours if they're traveling internationally.

LAX officials said they expect the busiest days for passengers will be Dec. 23 (226,000 passengers), Dec. 27 (220,000) and Dec. 30 (232,000 passengers). Christmas Day will be the slowest day, with 179,000 passengers, while 180,000 are expected on New Year's Eve and 186,000 on Christmas Eve and New Year's Day.

The average daily passenger volume at LAX is 193,000.

Those getting away for a while say the stress of traveling this time of year is well worth it.

The most popular destinations for Southern Californians over this Christmas-New Year holiday, according to a poll of Auto Club AAA Travel agents, are, in this order, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego, Arizona and Mexico.

City News Service contributed to this report.