National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day this year falls on Dec. 21. Alaska Airlines will celebrate by allowing passengers who wear a holiday sweater — ugly or festive — go to the head of the boarding line. That’s right, your seat assignment or place in line just doesn’t matter.
Come Dec. 21, ugly sweater fliers on Alaska and subsidiary Horizon Air across the country, including those at LAX, Burbank, John Wayne and Ontario airports, will have a shot at free early boarding during one of the busiest holiday travel times of the year.
However, the sweater’s boarding magic only lasts one day, which is why you need a better travel strategy to get you through Christmas week.
By the numbers, roughly 69 million people will be traveling worldwide between Dec. 21 and 25 this year, according to a study commissioned by British-based gift experience seller Buyagift.
More than 700,000 passengers are forecast to be flying in and out of LAX during the five-day period, the study said.
If you are one of them, here are some tips that could help ease your travel.
— Allow plenty of time to get to the airport, two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight.
— What, you can’t find a parking spot at LAX? Don’t let this happen to you.
The airport’s Lot C at 6221 W. 96th St. used to be a sure bet; it has the cheapest daily rates and a shuttle to get you to your terminal. But the number of spaces has shrunk in the past year because of airport construction and other activities.
Smart fliers who want to take no chances should reserve a parking space ahead of time at one of the 10 or so private lots. (Here’s a list, with prices you can expect to pay.) Better yet, skip driving altogether by taking an Uber, Lyft, taxi or the $8 to $10 LAX FlyAway Bus.
— Feel free to bring gifts in your carry-on bag, just don’t wrap them before you go through the security checkpoint. If you do, you may have to tear off the paper — and get coal in your stocking for holding up the line.
— Speaking of TSA screening, make sure your liquids are less than 3 ounces and fit inside a single 1-quart zip-top bag. If you aren’t sure whether an item can be taken on board, find out at the TSA’s “What Can I Bring?” interactive Wweb page.
— Stay connected by using your airline’s app and watching its Twitter feed and Facebook posts. It’s often quicker than calling to find out about delays and cancellations.