6 things to help ease your way through LAX this holiday season

Poland Christmas Decorations
These seasonal lights aren’t at LAX; you’ll have to fly to Warsaw to see them. But you will find helpful volunteers and terminal-hopping eating options that might help you through the LAX holiday crush.
(Czarek Sokolowski / Associated Press)

If the notion of almost 3 million fliers expected at Los Angeles International Airport has you in a panic, here are six ways to help you cope.

Passenger levels are forecast to spike to 200,000 on some days, particularly in the run-up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Relax. The idea is to get to your destination and keep spirits bright. Start out by packing light and checking in online before you get to the airport. Here are six strategies for keeping your sanity:

Change of terminals: If you haven’t been to LAX in a while, some key airlines have switched terminals. US Airways now operates out of Terminal 6. United Airlines left Terminal 6 and now flies from Terminals 7 and 8. Air New Zealand has moved to the Tom Bradley International Terminal.


Shop and dine anywhere: If you arrive early with extra time before your flight, you can pop over to Terminal 4 for a Kogi BBQ taco or Terminal 8 for a bite at Engine Co. No. 28. The Transportation Security Administration allows ticketed passengers with same-day boarding passes to pass through security screening in any terminal. It increases your shopping options too. Just don’t miss your flight.

Information please: LAX has been undergoing a multibillion-dollar facelift that has left some pedestrian walkways and airport roadways temporarily shut down. As you’re making your way around, follow signs that should guide you around construction areas. Work will be suspended at times to Jan. 5 to give passengers a break and keep crowds moving.

Red vest service: If you still can’t find your way around, look for Holiday Helpers; red vests are the tipoff. They’re out in force to help get you where you need to go. They join the airport’s VIP brigade (Volunteer Information Professionals) and customer service reps who also are assigned to airport duty.


Canine comfort: An article in the Travel Briefcase column in the Dec. 19 Business section about the use of dogs to help relieve stress among travelers at Los Angeles International Airport said the dogs were provided by Actors & Others for Animals. A nonprofit group called Paws 4 Healing provided the dogs at LAX. —


Pat the dog: Unwind a little before your journey. Seek out some canine comfort with PUPs (Pets Unstressing Passengers) therapy dogs. They roam around the airport with their volunteer owners so you can pet them -- and watch kids dissolve into giggles as they do likewise. It also helps keep people calm. Look for Santa Claus and roving holiday singers who will be on hand too.

Free waiting room: Anyone going to pick someone up at LAX receives up to two hours of free parking at the LAX cellphone waiting lot. You can’t leave your car, so bring a Kindle or old fashioned dead-tree reading material and settle in until your loved one texts or calls. The lot is at the southwest corner of the airport’s Lot C.

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