Summer airline travelers expect to face a Fourth of July holiday crush. LAX among the busiest

ONTARIO, CALIF. -- MONDAY, AUGUST 12, 2019: Travelers arrive in the ride-share pick up location at Ontario International Airport in Ontario Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. Uber said it will stop its service at Southern CaliforniaÕs Ontario International Airport because of fee increases. The airport said Lyft will stay. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Southern California airports, including Ontario International, shown here in 2019, are expecting a surge in travelers starting July 4. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

For the record:
3:16 p.m. July 1, 2024: An earlier version of this article said the TSA anticipated screening more than 28 million passengers between Friday, July 5, and Monday, July 8. The covered period is Friday, June 28, through Monday, July 8.

Los Angeles International Airport and other area airports are preparing for a crush of airline passengers, with Friday kicking off the busy Fourth of July travel season.

The Transportation Security Administration said it anticipated screening more than 28 million passengers nationwide between Friday, June 28, and Monday, July 8. That would mark a 5.4% increase in traffic over last year.

Thursday was the fifth-busiest day in TSA history, with security officers processing 2.92 million passengers. That tally barely surpassed the 2.91 million travelers screened on the Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2023.

LAX is expected to screen about 900,000 people between July 1 and July 8, according to TSA spokesperson Lorie Dankers. She said the airport's anticipated busiest day will be July 3, when an estimated 119,000 people are expected to travel. Monday, July 8, is expected to be nearly as busy with 118,000 people.

The lightest day is projected to be July 4, with 100,000 travelers.

TSA is “fully staffed” and prepared for the increase, Dankers said.

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“TSA has been planning for this holiday period for months and operations are going very smoothly at LAX,” Dankers said in an email.

She added, “While [our] security screening officers will be working hard during the Fourth of July holiday, we are confident that travelers departing LAX will experience a smooth and efficient security screening experience.”

TSA said wait time standards are 10 minutes and under in TSA PreCheck lanes and 30 minutes and under at regular screening lanes.

TSA is also expecting July 5 and July 7 to be the two busiest days of the travel cycle, with more than 3 million people traveling through 434 airports.

The uptick in travelers reflects the continuing growth in air travel since COVID-19 health restrictions were lifted.

Officials at Ontario International Airport are expecting a 10.3% increase in travel between Tuesday, July 2, and Sunday, July 7.

That translates into approximately 117,805 visitors moving through the airport.

Ontario airport is still asking passengers to arrive two hours prior to departure for domestic flights and three hours for international departures. Parking should also be reserved in advance.

Long Beach Airport did not release projections for the Fourth of July. The hub, however, is coming off a record-breaking May.

A new all-time high of 189,435 travelers passed through its doors in May, surpassing the airport's previous best of 182,382 in March.

“LGB’s unwavering dedication to delivering easygoing, first-class service exceeds expectations for travelers and fuels economic growth and prosperity for our region,” said Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson in a statement.

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The transportation hub is preparing to deal with the holiday rush by increasing staffing along the curbs and crosswalks to keep traffic flowing, said public affairs officer Kate Kuykendall. Other enhancements include the addition of a temporary cell phone waiting lot and special accommodations for large groups.

“Although this is a very busy time for our airport, we are proud to offer the most easygoing and convenient passenger experience in the region,” Kuykendall said.

Hollywood Burbank Airport did not release projections for the Fourth of July.

The airport's most up-to-date figures saw a slight increase in travel for April, with 508,043 passengers. That was a bump of just under 1,500 travelers from the same time last year.

Orange County’s John Wayne Airport also did not offer any projections for the Independence Day travel season. Unlike its counterparts, it saw a dip in travel in May. The airport serviced 950,740 passengers last month, marking an 8.7% decrease compared with May 2023 (1,041,342).

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.