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Holiday travel at LAX: Santa, stress dogs and the possibility of delays

LAX anticipates surge in holiday travel this year; East Coast weather poses potential complication

Though most of the holiday travel headaches Christmas Eve were reserved for fliers out of New York, Philadelphia and much of New England, crews at Los Angeles International Airport were prepared just the same.

All week, Santa Claus has been roaming the terminals to snap photos with young passengers, and on Wednesday, members of the LAX Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUPS) program, fanned out across the airport and were making their furry selves available for petting -- a simple stress reliever for thousands of holiday-weary travelers.

“So far so good!” said Mary Grady, spokeswoman for Los Angeles World Airports. “Everyone’s in a great mood. People are still wearing Santa hats.”

Airport officials expect LAX to be the second busiest airport in the country over the next two weeks, with nearly 3 million passengers expected to travel through the airport through Jan. 2. Wednesday, Friday and Jan. 2 are expected to be among the busiest days.

As of midmorning, snowstorms blanketing the Northeast had yet to start delaying flights in Los Angeles, Grady said.

“But it's early,” she cautioned. “If the storms get worse, then you’re going to start seeing that domino effect.”

So far, the biggest issue for LAX passengers Wednesday morning was foggy weather in San Francisco delaying flights nearly an hour, she said. 

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