LOS Angeles city, state and health officials continue to urge people to avoid traveling for the winter holidays to help stop the spread of COVID-19. For those who need to fly, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) wants passengers to understand the many protocols, physical changes and technologies that will help them Travel Safely at LAX.
“We are grateful to see so many people heeding the warnings of our public health officials to avoid unnecessary travel and gatherings outside of their own household, but we also know that there will be some people who will still need to head to the airport this holiday season,” said Justin Erbacci, Chief Executive Officer, LAWA. “For those who must fly, we have safe, clean facilities and new services such as on-site COVID-19 testing to provide an extra layer of protection for our passengers and employees.”
Last year, nearly 5.9 million passengers used LAX during the winter holiday period between Dec. 13, 2019, and Jan. 6, 2020.
So far in December, passenger traffic has been about 27 percent compared to the same days last year, compared to 31.4 percent in November. The decrease in passengers is likely linked to public health guidance to avoid unnecessary travel, although an increasing number of people have traveled in the week leading to Christmas, so far, averaging about 40,000 people through the security checkpoints over the last few days.
Airlines have scheduled 18,341 commercial passenger flights at LAX for the period between Dec. 16 and Jan. 4 for an average of 917 flights a day. For the same period last year there were 35,435 flights, averaging 1,772 flights per day. This is a reduction of 48 percent compared to available flights last year. It’s unknown how full those flights will be, and schedules may continue to change based on demand.
Many travelers will be coming to LAX over the holidays for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, and there have been many changes designed to protect airport guests through a layered approach. Here’s a look at what passengers should expect, and tips to ensure a successful airport journey this holiday season and beyond.
Key Tips for Success
Do not travel if you don’t have to.
Do not come to the airport if you are sick.
Wear a face covering at all times. Face coverings are required at LAX for everyone. Most airlines also require a face covering on the aircraft, and refusal to wear one will likely result in being denied boarding. We now have Travel Safely Ambassadors working to remind guests to wear a face covering and provide a free one if needed. Click here to watch a video of the LAX Travel Safely Ambassadors in action.
Follow public health guidance and wash your hands frequently, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. LAX has provided 350 hand sanitizing stations for use throughout the airport. Use hand sanitizer when washing isn’t possible. Avoid touching your face, mouth, nose eyes and ears.
Remain physically distanced. While LAX has installed signage at security screening, along jet bridges, at baggage claims and other locations to help guests remain physically separated, it is everyone’s individual responsibility to maintain a distance of six feet from one another at all times. Signage on elevators will indicate whether two or three people are allowed in the elevator at a time, depending on the size of the elevator (family groups are exempt from this limit). LAX requests that those who are able to take an escalator or stairs do so, so the elevators can be reserved for those who need them.
Check in online with your airline before you leave for the airport. This prevents the need to interact with a check-in kiosk. If you are traveling without checked luggage, you can skip the ticket counters entirely this way.
Check parking options ahead of time. Real-time parking availability within the LAX Central Terminal Area (CTA) parking structures is available here. Parking structures could fill up at any time, so be aware of off-airport private lots as alternatives. Economy Lot E remains closed.
Parking and traffic updates are available 24/7 via the automated @FlyLAXstats Twitter feed.
Picking someone up? Curbside pickup and drop-off is permitted on the Upper/Departures and Lower/Arrivals levels. All parking structures are free for the first 15 minutes, and Terminal B (Tom Bradley International Terminal) pickup area is also free to use. To access the Terminal B pickup, use the second entrance to Parking Structure 3 from World Way North on the Lower/Arrivals Level. This area is for passenger loading only with no parking allowed.
To help speed their journeys, travelers are encouraged to enroll in the Transportation Security Administration’s Pre√® or other trusted-traveler programs, such as U.S. Customs & Border Protection’s Global Entry, which improve security and reduce wait times.
According to TSA, baked goods and other solid foods are allowed in carry-on luggage.
This includes breads, cookies, candies and meat. However, jams, jellies, sauces, gravies or other liquids need to be in quantities of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less to travel in carry-on luggage. Anything over 3.4 ounces needs to be placed in a checked bag. For additional guidance, please visit the TSA’s “What Can I Bring?” website.
COVID-19 tests are available for purchase at three locations at LAX: Tom Bradley International Terminal on the Upper/Departures level at the check-in counters located in Aisle C, along the north side of the terminal; Terminal 2 Lower/Arrivals Level at the information booth; and Terminal 6 Lower/Arrivals Level at the information booth.
Clarity Lab Solutions offers FDA-approved COVID-19 tests using a standard Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) nasal swab test and provide results directly to participants.
The PCR tests cost $125 each and are available by making an appointment online or on a walk-up basis as available – appointments are strongly encouraged. Testing services are offered seven days a week from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.
For more information, visit www.FlyLAX.com/TravelSafely.