Passengers pack into LAX ahead of Thanksgiving; sunny skies, warm temperatures forecast

LOS ANGELES, CA-AUGUST 30, 2023: Katie Wood, of Westlake Village, makes her way at Southwest Airlines at LAX with her son, Owen, 3, in carriage, and son Bryce, 10 months, on her way with family members to Fort Worth, Texas, for the Labor Day Weekend. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
Passengers make their way through Southwest Airlines terminal at Los Angeles International Airport earlier this year. (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

A crush of passengers descended upon Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday in what officials anticipate will be the busiest travel day of the holiday week — just a few days ahead of Thanksgiving.

Traffic in and around the airport was jammed as roughly 229,000 passengers were expected to pass through the facility by the end of the day, officials said. An additional 228,000 passengers are expected next Sunday — the second busiest day of the holiday week — for the return home.

In all, about 2.5 million passengers are expected to pass through LAX during the 10-day holiday travel window, an increase of 300,000 passengers from 2022.

LAX officials are encouraging those traveling this week to arrive at least two hours before boarding time for domestic flights in order to clear security and reach theirs gates in time.

After a few days of cloudy skies and light rain, sunny skies and warmer temperatures are expected across Southern California through the Thanksgiving holiday, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures will range from the low to upper 70s through much of the week.

The Santa Monica Mountains will see Santa Ana winds of 20 to 30 mph — with gusts of up to 45 mph or more — through Tuesday, according to the weather service.

“Those getting an early start on their travel plans might encounter some dangerous crosswind,” said Robbie Munrow, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “For those leaving or coming to L.A. County, we could see wind gusts from 45 to 60 miles per hour.”

The Santa Ana winds — and the warmer temperatures they bring — are expected to taper down by Thanksgiving Day, leaving Southern California mostly sunny with near normal temperatures around 70 degrees, perfect for turkey trots and family feasts.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.