LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Throngs of travelers flocked to Los Angeles International Airport Saturday, struggling to overcome delays as they made their way home for the holidays.
Scheduled maintenance on one of the runways was a factor in delays plaguing 45 incoming flights, according to LAX spokesperson Katherine Alvarado. The Federal Aviation Administration instituted a ground hold on some flights bound for LAX, with an average lag time of 41 minutes.
Alvarado said bad weather in other parts of the country, and heavy holiday passenger loads, also contributed to the delays.
More than 2.6 million passengers are expected at LAX during the holiday season, an 8.2 increase compared to the same time last year.
Experts say the increase is due to airlines using larger aircraft and the addition of several international flights on super-jumbo jets. Los Angeles is also a popular destination this time of year for those seeking warmer weather.
The busiest days at the airport were expected to be Friday, Dec. 20, and Saturday, Dec. 21, along with Dec. 26, 27 and 29, and Jan. 2. As many as 200,000 travelers are expected to move through LAX on those days.
Airport officials urge passengers to arrive two hours before their domestic flights and three hours before international flights. Travelers can save time by checking in for their flight online. Passengers can also sign up on the airlines’ websites to receive up-to-date phone or text message alerts.
To lessen the traffic congestion, travelers are encouraged to take public transportation, including the Metro, shuttles, taxis and the LAX FlyAway nonstop bus service. Those looking to park their cars should be aware that parking structures 3 and 4, across from the same numbered airline terminals and the Tom Bradley International Terminal, fill up faster than other structures.
LAX is the sixth busiest airport in the world and third in the United States.