SOURCE: Los Angeles World Airports

November 20, 2008 13:00 ET

LAX, LA/ONT Expect Fewer Thanksgiving Travelers This Season as Airlines Reduce Number of Flights, Seats in Response to Economy

LAX Cell Phone Lot and LAX FlyAway Promotions Set This Holiday

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - November 20, 2008) - Passenger volumes at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT) are expected to be less this Thanksgiving holiday travel season. Airlines are offering fewer seats and flights this holiday period compared to last year, as they adjust their flight schedules due to higher costs and fewer reservations.

Airport officials say they are not surprised by this season's year-over-year decline in passengers and flights, as the airline industry had already announced significant cutbacks starting this fall. Still, they predict sizeable passenger volumes on the most popular days and times for air travel during the 10-day Thanksgiving travel period from Friday, Nov. 21 through Sunday, Nov. 30.

LAX is expected to serve 1.6 million passengers, and ONT will handle 147,000. LAX holiday travel will be down 14.3 percent from the 1.85 million passengers in 2007 due to cuts in flights and the number of available seats by the air carriers. ONT will see a 30 percent decline from 210,000 passengers in 2007, primarily due to cessation of service by ExpressJet and JetBlue.

The busiest days at each airport are expected to be Friday, Nov. 21, Wednesday, Nov. 26, and Sunday, Nov. 30, with airlines forecasting passenger load factors approaching 90 percent on most flights and some flights fully booked.

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) is joined by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) and other agencies to recommend travel tips to passengers. Airport officials suggest passengers departing LAX during the daily peak travel periods -- from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., or from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. -- to be in their airline's ticketing lobbies two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights. A number of airlines have changed terminal locations since last year. Passengers should check with their airline for their current location or visit LAWA's website at www.lawa.org.

Travelers at ONT are urged to arrive at the airport 1-1 and a 1/2 hours before domestic flights and two hours before international flights serving Mexico.

In an effort to reduce traffic in and around LAX, airport staff is planning to conduct two activities on Wednesday, Nov. 26 (the day before Thanksgiving) to promote the use of its LAX Cell Phone Waiting Lot and the LAX FlyAway nonstop airport bus service. Airport staff will distribute traveler's kits and promotional items to motorists who use the cell phone lot, and to passengers boarding FlyAway buses at Union Station, Van Nuys and Westwood. The kits will contain a TSA-approved 3-1-1 clear, plastic pouch for liquids, Smart Travelers Tips, airport users guides, and promotional items -- while supplies last at these locations.

The LAX Cell Phone Lot, located at 9011 Airport Blvd., is open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and offers a free alternative to busy airport traffic. Instead of circling the Central Terminal Area, motorists can wait in this free, well-lit parking lot for their arriving passengers to call them by cell phone and then drive to terminal curbside to pickup their passengers.

The LAX FlyAway bus provides service from Union Station, Van Nuys, and Westwood to LAX. The fares for the frequently scheduled buses from these locations are $4 each way for adults, $2 each way for children 2 to 12 years, and free for infants under 2 years. Covered parking is available at Van Nuys for $4 per day and at Union Station's Gateway Center Plaza for $6 per day. Limited weekend parking is available at Westwood. For information about service hours and departure times, visit www.lawa.org/flyaway.

LAX AiRadio 530 AM is the only broadcast source of up-to-the-minute information on airport conditions, traffic on the freeways and roadways near and in the airport, parking, airline terminal locations and security. During the upcoming holidays, the radio station will broadcast live from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Nov. 30. On-air broadcasts are streamed onto the airport's Internet website at www.lawa.org.

LA/Ontario International Airport conditions are broadcast over ONT AiRadio 770 AM. Both radio stations operate every day, 24 hours a day.

Passengers will find convenient services in LAX and ONT since last year. Electronic charging stations at boarding gates in airport terminals are available so travelers can recharge for free their mobile phones, laptops and other personal electronic items while waiting to board flights.

The reLAX public lounge in the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX will open Dec. 4 on mezzanine level. Travelers can pay $25 for a three-hour period to use a comfortable and relaxing waiting area, with refreshments and business services such as wireless internet access, faxing, photocopying and printing. Hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily. For information, visit www.relaxlounge.weebly.com.

The TSA provides a convenient list of permitted and prohibited items called Prepare for Takeoff that is available on its website www.tsa.dhs.gov. The list describes which items are permitted aboard with passengers or which must be placed in checked luggage, such as electronic devices, tools, guns and firearms, sporting goods, sharp objects, liquids and food.

Contact Information

  • CONTACT:
    Thomas Winfrey
    (310) 646-5260