LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Labor Day getaway will kick into high gear Thursday, with large crowds expected at Los Angeles International Airport and plenty of vehicles on the road as Southern Californians look to celebrate the unofficial end of summer.
Nearly 1.1 million passengers are expected to pass through LAX between Thursday and Monday. Friday is expected to be the busiest day, with 229,000 passengers anticipated at LAX. Roughly 224,000 passengers are expected Thursday, and 220,000 on Monday.
"LAX has experienced a very busy summer travel season welcoming more passengers through our airport than we have seen since early 2020," Justin Erbacci, CEO of Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that runs LAX, said in a statement. "We reached a major milestone in June and July when our international passenger traffic surpassed 2 million guests each month. The passenger volumes for the upcoming Labor Day weekend signify a successful summer and encourage us that this momentum will carry into the fall and winter months."
Airport officials urged travelers to arrive at least two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international trips. They also noted that traffic on the horseshoe loop through the Central Terminal Area will be heavy, with more than 90,000 vehicles anticipated daily over the weekend. Airport parking is also expected to be at a premium, and officials urged travelers to book spaces in advance at parking.flylax.com.
According to the Automobile Club of Southern California, the agency's booking data for flights, hotels, rentals cars and cruises over the holiday weekend are up 4% domestically, compared to last year's Labor Day period, and international bookings are up 44%.
"While AAA does not issue a formal travel forecast for the Labor Day holiday, Southern California travel bookings indicate that vacation interest continues at the high levels of the Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays, which matched or exceeded pre-pandemic levels," according to the Auto Club.
Auto Club officials said the top travel destinations for Southern California residents over the upcoming weekend will be Las Vegas, San Diego, the Central Coast, Grand Canyon and Mexico.
Nationwide, the most popular international destinations are expected to be Vancouver, Rome, London, Dublin and Paris. The top five domestic travel destinations nationally are expected to be Seattle, Orlando, Anchorage, New York and Las Vegas.
Citing data from transportation-analytics firm INRIX, the Auto Club warned that Thursday and Friday afternoons are expected to be the busiest times on the roads for travel.
"The best times to travel by car over Labor Day weekend are early in the morning or in the evening," Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX, said in a statement. "If you must travel during heavy traffic, navigation apps and local departments of transportation can help steer drivers around long delays."