Orbitz predicts LAX will be busiest airport in U.S. over Thanksgiving

Los Angeles International Airport
Expect crowds at Los Angeles International Airport over Thanksgiving. Travel booking site Orbitz says it will be the busiest in the country.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Orbitz makes this forecast for people who will be flying over Thanksgiving: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) will be the busiest in the nation and John Wayne Airport (SNA) among the least-crowded.

It’s the second year that LAX was predicted to be the top airport based on passenger volume. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and JFK (JFK) in New York City came in next, followed by San Francisco International (SFO) and Boston Logan International (BOS).

“We’re seeing the same high-traffic holiday destinations this year as we did last with only two newcomers to the busiest airports list,” said Jeanenne Tornatore, Orbitz’s senior travel editor. “Thankfully, there are a number of new additions to the Least Busy Airports lists, with several offering alternative options to large metro areas.”

Airports in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Syracuse, N.Y., are forecast to be the least busy, followed by John Wayne in the No. 3 spot, and then the airports in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Oakland.




Nov. 13, 8:30 a.m.: An earlier version of this post stated that an airport in Oakland, Fla., was forecast to be the fifth-least-busy airport over Thanksgiving. The airport is in Oakland, Calif.



Airlines for America, a trade organization for U.S. carriers, predicts 24.6 million fliers will take to the skies from Nov. 21 through Dec. 2. It says busiest days will be the Sunday (Nov. 30) and Monday (Dec. 1) after Thanksgiving and the day before (Nov. 26).

So what should you do if you’re flying in or out of the busy airports? Plan ahead and allow plenty of time for your trip to or from the airport. Here are some more tips:

-- Check in for your flight online before you get to the airport, and sign up for electronic alerts that will keep you apprised of the status of your flight.

-- Make sure your carry-on bag meets your airlines’ guidelines and doesn’t contain anything that could slow you down through airport security. (Travel light if you want to save on airline fees for checked baggage.)

-- Arrive at the airport two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights if you’re traveling during peak hours. At LAX, those hours are 6 to 9 a.m., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 7 to 11 p.m.

-- Enroll in the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck Program to get through airport security more quickly. PreCheck travelers keep their shoes and coats on and aren’t required to remove liquids and laptops from their carry-on bag. It costs $85 to enroll.

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