Get ready, fliers: Memorial Day weekend will kick off a humming summer at LAX

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 23: Traffic is heavy at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday, May 23, 2024. Airport officials are urging people to plan ahead and give themselves plenty of time to reach the airport and board their flights. Memorial Day traditionally marks the beginning of the summer travel season and airport officials said passenger numbers and vehicular traffic will be rising over the next few days and remain high for the next few months. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles International Airport officials are bracing for peak traffic this Memorial Day weekend. (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles International Airport is preparing for a busy Memorial Day weekend, marking the start of what promises to be a hectic summer travel season for fliers, officials said.

Airport officials expect an increase in daily passengers at LAX until the end of the month, with more more than a million total passengers between Thursday and Monday. Friday is expected to be the holiday weekend’s busiest day, with about 235,000 travelers, followed by Thursday with 232,000. Saturday is expected to see the fewest travelers of the weekend, with roughly 197,000.

Vehicle traffic is also expected to increase at the airport over the holiday weekend, with about 90,000 to 96,000 vehicles on each of the busiest days.

Read more: Traveling for Memorial Day? Expect 3 million on the road and gas over $5 a gallon

"With school breaks, relaxed workdays and a strong demand for travel to and from Los Angeles, we expect a busy summer,” interim Chief Operations and Maintenance Officer Doug Webster said in a statement. “Our airport staff and airline partners are aware of the projected wave of travelers to the region, and are ready and well-equipped."

The following weekend is also expected to see hundreds of thousands of people, with an anticipated peak off 235,000 travelers on June 2, a Sunday.

Officials recommend the following tips for the upcoming hectic summer weekends:

  • Get to the airport at least two hours before departure.

  • Pre-book parking, because LAX lots are expected to reach capacity.

  • Use the cellphone parking lots at 96th Street and Alverstone Avenue and 96th and Vicksburg Avenue when waiting to pick up arriving travelers; the designated areas help reduce traffic at LAX.

Read more: LAX People Mover gets $200 million more to resolve claims between contractor and airport

LAX is the world’s fifth-busiest airport. Last year, more than 75 million people flew through the airport. Although that total represents a steady increase since 2020, it falls short of pre-pandemic numbers. In 2019, for example, nearly 88.1 million passengers traveled through LAX, averaging 241,000 a day.

Airport officials have said that widespread shifts to remote work reduced interstate air travel, but that LAX is once again seeing hundreds of thousands of travelers each week.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.