By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — This coming Fourth of July will be the first holiday weekend since a large-scale vaccination campaign helped lift most COVID-19 restrictions – and LAX could see record travel numbers.

(credit: CBS)

Los Angeles International Airport, which was reduced to practically a ghost town during the pandemic, has been getting busier over the past month, and many people will use the upcoming holiday as an excuse to travel again.

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“I wouldn’t be surprised to see us set new records in the post-pandemic era for Friday and Saturday,” LAX spokesman Heath Montgomery said. “We could see 90,000 to 100,000 people. That would be a big deal for us because we haven’t seen passenger numbers like that in well over a year.”

Linda Tubbs and her friends say they were surprised when they got to LAX and saw just how many people were there.

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“It was a bit overwhelming,” she said. “It’s almost like it’s back to normal.”

And just as in the so-called “before times,” people are being asked to arrive early for flights to avoid traffic caused by the many construction projects taking place at the airports. There are also not as many flights available now as there were before the pandemic, so planes may be more crowded than most people would like.

One pandemic change that travelers can expect to see now at LAX is a vaccination site, offering the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot. Rapid COVID tests are also available for travelers headed for destinations that require a clean bill of health.

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And while LAX is expected to see a huge influx of travelers this weekend, most people who intend to get away will do so by hitting the road. According to the Automobile Club of Southern California, 86% of the 3.3 million Southern Californians who say they will travel for the Fourth of July weekend will go by car.