LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- An estimated 228,000 travelers are expected to flow through Los Angeles International Airport Sunday as the busy Thanksgiving getaway period draws to a close.
LAX officials said a total of 2.5 million passengers were expected during the period that began Nov. 16 and ends Sunday. That's just below the number that used the airport during the 2019 Thanksgiving period, prior to the pandemic.
About 223,000 of those passengers were estimated to have come through LAX on Wednesday, one of the busiest days of the travel period, according to the airport.
"We look forward to welcoming a significant increase in travelers during the Thanksgiving travel period, with projections indicating nearly 300,000 more guests than the previous year," Bea Hsu, interim Los Angeles World Airports Chief Executive Officer said in a pre-Thanksgiving statement. "To ensure a smooth journey, we recommend passengers allow extra time to access the airport and plan ahead by taking advantage of our award-winning services that allow guests to pre-book parking and place food and beverage orders before arriving at the gate."
Overall passenger traffic at LAX is about 91.5% of what it was in 2019, according to TSA data.
Increased travel has also put an extra burden on traffic and parking in and around LAX with more than 92,000 vehicles expected daily on peak days.
Los Angeles Department of Transportation Traffic Control Officers are helping to direct traffic on perimeter roadways and additional Airport Police Traffic Control Officers are assisting with vehicles in the Central Terminal Area.
With parking garages at or near full capacity, guests were encouraged to reserve parking spaces online at Parking.FLYLAX.com.
Two cell phone waiting lots are also open and provide a space for drivers to wait in their vehicles until passengers are ready to be picked-up from the terminal curb.
Meanwhile, the Auto Club of Southern California estimated that 4.6 million Southern Californians traveled for the holiday, a 3% increase from last year's record-setting travel number and a 3.5% increase from the pre-pandemic Thanksgiving holiday.
Nationally, the Auto Club predicted the Thanksgiving holiday would be the third busiest on record, with 55.4 million people expected to travel. That's below only the 58.6 million who traveled in 2005 and 56 million in 2019.
Of the 4.6 million Southern Californians predicted to travel for the holiday, 3.9 million were expected to travel by car, while 566,000 were flying and 120,000 took a bus, train or cruise. The top destinations were expected to be Las Vegas, San Diego, Santa Barabara/Central Coast, the Grand Canyon and Mexico cruises or resorts, according to the Auto Club.
"Thanksgiving is one of the more popular holidays for people to travel to see family and friends so they can take part in annual traditions like turkey dinners and Black Friday shopping," Jenna Miller, the Auto Club's vice president for travel products and services, said in a statement. "Travel demand has been strong all year, and AAA's Thanksgiving travel forecast reflects people's ongoing desire to get away and spend time with their loved ones."