LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) – Nearly one in three Americans is getting away this holiday season, and a record 100.5 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home, according to the American Automobile Association. The numbers represent a 1.4 percent increase over last year.
The year-end holiday travel period is between Dec. 23, 2015 to Jan. 3, 2016.
AAA President and CEO Marshall Doney said: “Rising incomes and low gas prices are helping to fill stockings this year, and more people than ever will choose to spend those savings on travel this year.”
Air travel is also expected to jump by 0.7 percent, with 5.8 million Americans flying to their holiday destinations.
LAX estimates a record 3.5 million travelers will pass through the airport this holiday season and 232,000 on Wednesday alone.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Erica Nochlin takes a look at how travelers fared Wednesday night.
Airport police say Dec. 30 is expected to be the busiest day at LAX with 300,000 coming through the airport.
Meantime, airlines are shifting the timing of thousands of flights and adding dozens of redeyes as they haul millions of passengers from now through the Christmas weekend.
Success or failure could all depend on the weather and Mother Nature isn’t making it easy on airlines.
Rain and fog in the Northeast caused delays and cancellations Wednesday in Boston, New York and Washington – the busiest part of the country’s airspace.
Rain in Chicago and Atlanta caused some delays in those cities too. Severe storms that ripped through Mississippi and Alabama, however, had little impact on air travel since no major airports are in those states.
Weather wasn’t the only culprit for travel headaches. A Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis clogged roads around the airport Wednesday and temporarily blocked access to one of the two terminals.
There were about 5,300 delays and 430 cancelations around 8:15 p.m., according to flight tracking site FlightAware.
That’s double the number of normal cancellations. The majority of flights canceled were smaller regional jets that carry 50 to 76 passengers.
More than 28,000 flights were scheduled for Wednesday. A typical day sees about 150 cancelations and 4,000 delays.