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LAX reports smooth travel so far on its busiest day of the year

November 28, 2011 |  9:31 am

Airport officials expect Monday to be the busiest single travel day of the year at LAX, already ranked as the nation’s most congested Thanksgiving travel hub.

More than 167,000 travelers are expected to slog through security lines or arrive back home for work, with peak travel times at the airport expected between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Los Angeles International Airport spokeswoman Diana Sanchez said Monday morning that despite the high volume of passengers, operations were flowing smoothly so far. She said airport police along the drop-off and pick-up curbs are exercising the "NICE" initiative: Neutralizing Irritations Customer Service.

"Police officers are out in strong force, but they've been trained to be nice," she said. "They're handing out coupons to Starbucks in addition to citations." 

Sanchez encouraged drivers waiting for arriving passengers to park rather than circle in their cars to help alleviate congestion near the curbs. She said the airport was fully staffed, but travelers should still allow plenty of time to pass through security.  

About 1.76 million passengers were expected to fly out of LAX during the 10-day Thanksgiving travel period, the first jump in travel since the recession of 2008.

The travel website Orbitz declared LAX the busiest airport during Thanksgiving, based on ticket sales between Nov. 23 and Nov. 27.

Nationwide, more than 40 million Americans were expected to travel at least 50 miles from home over the holiday weekend, according to a AAA travel forecast.    

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-- Matt Stevens

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