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Coping with holiday delays


If you are flying through Los Angeles International Airport for the Thanksgiving holiday, be prepared to slog through the busiest airport in the nation.

If that’s not bad enough, LAX travelers will probably face some of the country’s worst delays.

But travelers in the know may be able to make the best of delays at LAX.

Airports nationwide will be busier than ever, with 61 percent of Americans saying they plan to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, a 6 percent increase over 2014, according to a survey by the travel website Orbitz.

Based on booking data, Orbitz estimates that LAX will draw the biggest crowds, followed closely by Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The website didn’t offer passenger totals, but LAX officials estimated that the airport served 1.97 million fliers during last year’s Thanksgiving holiday.

This would make the third year in a row that LAX tops the list of busiest airports for the holiday weekend.

Delays could add to your woes. LAX ranked 12th worst in the nation in delays last year, with 37 percent of its flights arriving late during Thanksgiving.

Storms generated by the upcoming El Nino weather pattern could make things even worse, said Nicolas Michaelsen, co-founder of, a company that tracks delays and helps travelers collect damages from airlines for delays or overbooked flights.

But there are a few bright spots about flying out of LAX. Because several LAX terminals are undergoing construction, the Transportation Security Administration allows travelers at the airport to use boarding passes for any airline to enter any terminal to shop and dine while waiting for a flight.

One way to take advantage of the TSA exemption is to check out the Duty Free Shop at the Tom Bradley International Terminal, LAX spokeswoman Katherine Alvarado said.

Why? From noon to 11 p.m. every day, the shop offers free samples of wine and spirits for frustrated fliers.

Hugo Martin, Los Angeles Times


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