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Surviving Thanksgiving weekend's travel crunch

November 25, 2009 |  8:50 am

 
Getaway
Check-in lines are out the door at Los Angeles International Airport this morning for one of the busiest days of the holiday travel season.

Officials are expecting about 1.5 million passengers -- a slight increase compared with last year -- to pass through LAX during the 10-day Thanksgiving holiday period, which started Friday and ends Nov. 29.

HOLIDAY-TRAVELToday and Sunday are the busiest of those days, said Katherine Alvarado, a spokeswoman for LAX.

"It's pretty busy today, especially at the Southwest Airlines terminal, the American Airlines terminal and the United terminal," she said. "The lines are moving pretty quickly. TSA [Transportation Security Administration] has most of their screening lanes open."

At Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, spokesman Victor Gill said traffic is "relatively calm right now," but he expects it to pick up this afternoon and into the evening.

Alvarado said LAX officials are using the airport's website, Facebook and Twitter to give passengers advice on making their experience smooth. They are asking travelers  to tune in to LAX Air Radio 530 AM for information.

Alvarado suggests travelers prepare for their flights by printing their boarding passes at home and double check which terminal they are flying from.

Freeways and roads should be busy with nearly 2 million Southern Californians expected to hit the road Thanksgiving weekend, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

The California Highway Patrol said it will be out in force starting tonight at 6 to enforce seat belt, speed and cellphone laws and to watch for drunk drivers. About 80% of CHP officers assigned to Southern California will be working over the holiday weekend, said CHP Officer Vince Ramirez.

Alvarado encouraged travelers planning to drive to LAX to instead use the FlyAway buses, which serve Union Station, Van Nuys, Westwood and Irvine. It costs $5 or $7 for a one-way trip from Union Station, Van Nuys or Westwood to LAX. From Irvine, the cost is $25.

Will you be traveling Thursday? How do you plan to avoid the holiday traffic? What information could we provide to make your trip easier? Let us know in the comments below. We'll use your feedback to help build our holiday travel survival guide, now in its formative stages.

-- Baxter Holmes and Raja Abdulrahim

More photos: Holiday travelers make their getaway

Photo: A TSA agent looks out over Thanksgiving travelers making their way through Los Angeles International Airport's terminal one Wednesday.  Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

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