LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A record 4.3 million travelers are expected to pass through Los Angeles International Airport during the Christmas and New Year’s Day holiday travel season, a 9.5 percent jump since last year.

The 19-day holiday period, which began Friday, will last through Jan. 3. The busiest travel days will be Wednesday and Friday, with LAX expecting 239,000 passengers on those days, but it’s not much of a change from the 233,000 daily average expected throughout the holidays.

The days to travel will be Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, when only between 194,000 and 198,000 passengers are expected to pass through LAX, which will be the third busiest in the U.S. behind Atlanta and Chicago.

According to LAX officials, the increase in air passenger traffic is thanks to the improving economy, competitive fares and the addition of more than 450,000 seats by new and existing airlines. This year’s back-to-back three-day holiday weekends helped, too.

LAX officials say passengers should arrive at least two hours ahead of boarding time for domestic flights and three hours ahead for international flights. With winter weather affecting many parts of the country, passengers should also check with their airlines to ensure flights are not delayed or canceled.

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