2.9 Million People Expected Through LAX During Holidays

Today and tomorrow are expected to be among the busiest days of the holiday travel season at Los Angeles International Airport, and officials urged travelers to arrive early.

About 2.9 million travelers are expected to pass through LAX during the 17- day holiday period that began last Saturday and ends Jan. 2, an increase from last year, airport officials said. The increase in passenger traffic at LAX is driven by a rise in international travel, said Harold Johnson of Los Angeles World Airports, the agency that oversees LAX.

The number of domestic flights are expected to be the same as last year, when about 2.8 million travelers passed through LAX, Johnson said. The airlines, airport staff and the Transportation Security Administration are prepared for the anticipated crowds at LAX, with properly staffed screening stations and luggage check-in areas, Johnson said.

LAX opened eight new passenger screening lanes this year to better deal with high-volume days. All available airport police and traffic officers will be on duty for crowd control, traffic management, crime prevention and parking enforcement, Johnson said. Airline travelers will see more random screenings and fewer items on prohibited lists for carry-on and checked baggages, the Transportation Security Administration announced recently.

Tools smaller than seven inches, butter knives without serrated edges, and blunt-tipped scissors smaller than four inches are now allowable on carry-on bags, according to the TSA. "Passengers will continue to walk through a metal detector and have their carry-on and checked baggage scanned," the agency said in a statement.

The searches are expected to take a minute to complete. Also allowable in carry-on bags are cigar cutters, corkscrews, eyeglass repair tools, eyelash cutters, knitting and crocheting needles, nail clippers, nail files, small aerosol personal care products, safety razors, toy weapons (if not realistic replicas), tweezers, umbrellas and canes.

LAX recommends that passengers follow some tips for an easier trip:

-- Call your airline or check its Web site to make sure flights are running on time, as severe winter weather in other parts of the country may cause some delays;
-- Leave gifts and large boxes unwrapped for inspection;
-- Save time during check-in by obtaining boarding passes from the airline's Web sites, especially when traveling with carry-on bags only;
-- Limit carry-on items to one piece of baggage and one personal item, such as a purse, briefcase, diaper bag or backpack;
-- Do not pack prohibited items or anything resembling a weapon;
-- Take public transportation or an airport shuttle to LAX; and
-- Check-in with your airline two hours before a domestic flight, and three hours before an international flight.

Motorists headed to LAX can hear about traffic conditions at and around the airport on LAX AirRadio 530 AM from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

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