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Airline Passengers Brace For Crowded And Chaotic Thanksgiving Travel Through LAX

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - Millions of people will be traveling through Los Angeles International Airport in coming weeks, as the holiday season quickly approaches. For many, it will be the first time they've traveled in years, thanks in large part to the Coronavirus pandemic.

While some travelers look forward to trips like delayed honeymoons and other getaways that were postponed by COVID-19, the vast majority are excited to see their families and rekindle beloved family traditions with a new outlook, just a year after many spent the holidays alone.

Those travelers should also have a new outlook on travel in 2021, with new rules and mandates in play - including wearing masks inside airports and on airplanes, in addition to new safety measures at nearly every airport across the nation.

As if it wasn't already stressful enough, those who expect to voyage through Los Angeles International Airport should expect a slew of new problems in 2021.

The airport is still undergoing construction as part of the modernization project that began in 2018. LAMP, or the Landside Access Modernization Project, is a $5.5 billion program aimed to relieve congestion for people traveling via LAX through a variety of different oncoming changes.

This current construction has overtaken three terminals, meaning less drop off lanes, less check in counters, less places to park, less sitting area... essentially less of everything - except crowds.

An estimated two million people are expected to travel in and out of LAX.

The Transportation Security Administration, more commonly known as TSA, estimated that over 20 million people will be screened during the weekends surrounding Thanksgiving with 10% of those travelers coming through LAX. However, the airport indicated that this is still only two-thirds of the pre-pandemic levels they saw in 2019.

Those who plan to leave their car at LAX while away should also be aware that parking spots, already limited as it is, are a rare commodity thus far in the travel season. Not to mention expensive - some on-site interior parking lots are charging up to $50 a day.

For those looking for a cheaper alternative, the newly-unveiled LAX Economy Parking Lot only charges $20 a day, but the off-site location has already caused frustration, as it took some travelers up to 30 minutes to actually reach LAX after parking.

Reports also indicate that travel to the airport is already pricey enough, as ridesharing options are more than double the cost they were in 2019.

Fliers should also be aware of other inexplicably aggravated passengers, of which there has been a drastic uptick in 2021 - with over 5,000 reported cases of unruly passengers so far this year.

Despite everything, travelers are just excited to get back to a little bit of normalcy after 18 months of staying put.

TSA suggests that anyone expecting to fly in the coming weeks give themselves a lot of extra time, check bags at least an hour before departure and remove any unwelcome items from carry on luggage. However, for the first time TSA is allowing one bottle of hand sanitizer up to 12oz.

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