Holiday Travel: LAX Predicts Busy Month, with 3 Million Passengers Expected for July 4 Holiday

Published on Jun 29, 2023

Travelers at Los Angeles International Airport. [Shutterstock]

While severe weather continues to cause air- traffic delays and flight cancellations nationally, Los Angeles International Airport officials say they anticipate July will be LAX’s busiest month of the summer travel season — starting with an anticipated 3 million passengers over the Fourth of July period, including peak travel days Thursday and Friday.

“The busy summer travel season is upon us at LAX and we expect passenger volumes to reach the highest levels we have seen so far this year with an average of 228,000 daily passengers in the days before and after the Independence Day holiday,” Justin Erbacci, CEO of Los Angeles World Airports, said in a statement Wednesday.

“Our parking structures are nearing capacity or filling up on a daily basis, so we encourage guests to take advantage of our award-winning smart parking system to pre-book a parking space in any Central Area Terminal structure or the LAX Economy Parking facility. Passengers can also make the travel journey more enjoyable by arriving early and ordering food and beverage ahead of time for pickup or delivery to the gate.”

LAX officials define the Fourth of July travel period as Wednesday through July 10. The busiest days of that period are expected to be Thursday, when about 241,000 passengers are expected to pass through the airport; Friday, with about 245,000 passengers expected; and July 10 when about 251,000 passengers are anticipated.

Airport officials said those anticipated peak days represent about 90% of the passenger volume seen in pre-pandemic March 2019, and are expected to be the busiest travel days at the airport since early 2020.

The travel crunch comes during a week when severe weather in other parts of the country have been prompting flight delays and cancellations. Those issues were continuing Wednesday, with 28 cancellations of flights in or out of LAX reported by midday, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware. More than 180 flight delays affecting the airport were also reported.

Earlier this week, the Automobile Club of Southern California predicted that a near-record 3.4 million Southern California residents are expected to travel for the Fourth of July holiday period, a 4.4% increase from last year and just 1% below the all-time high set in 2019.

According to the Auto Club, roughly 2.7 million Southern Californians are expected to travel by automobile over the holiday, with 517,000 traveling by air and 253,000 relying on some other means, such as bus, train or cruise.

Nationally, nearly 51 million people are expected to travel, surpassing the 2019 record.

With the Fourth of July holiday falling on a Tuesday, the Auto Club defined the holiday travel period as beginning Friday and ending on July 4.

For Southern California travelers, the top destinations are expected to be Las Vegas, San Diego, the Central Coast, Mexico and the Grand Canyon.

According to the traffic-analytics firm INRIX, the worst traffic congestion over the holiday period in Southern California is expected to occur Sunday evening on the 15 Freeway heading toward Las Vegas. The company estimated that the usual four-hour drive is likely to take six hours during that peak travel period.

Auto Club officials noted that gas prices are about $1.50 per gallon lower in Southern California that they were last year, but the average price is still at the second-highest level ever for the Fourth of July period.

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