The holiday travel season is upon us. If your plans should involve air travel, particularly at Los Angeles International Airport — which served 85 million flyers in 2017 and is the nation’s second busiest — here are some tips that may help smooth the way to your final destination.
Before you go
Get some help from the government. If you’re planning to travel overseas, check Travel.State.Gov for any travel advisories. If you’re unsure what you can bring aboard, such as antlers and medical devices, check out the Transportation Security Administration’s What Can I Bring? There’s also a breakout page that identifies what kinds and quantities of liquid (think shampoo and sunscreen) you can store in your carry-on.
If you’re going to be like Santa and tote some gifts, place them in gift boxes or gift bags so that they can be easily pulled out for inspection. Or avoid bringing gifts altogether and ship them so that they’ll arrive before you do.
On the day of
Check the weather report and the airline for flight delays. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport, go through security and arrive at your boarding gate. The rule of thumb is to be at the airport at least two hours before your domestic departure time, or three for international. But with the holidays, allow for extra traffic.
Put luggage or identification tags on your bags if you haven’t already done so. This way, they’ll find your way to you if they should be misplaced or delayed.
En route to the airport
If you’re driving to the airport and will be parking your car, try to park in a secure location that is well-lighted at night, especially if you’re returning in the evening. Be sure not to leave valuables behind and lock your car doors.
If you’re traveling to the airport by a ride-share service, be discreet about your travel plans, particularly if you were picked up from your home. And it’s not a good idea to post on social media that you’ll be out of town.
At the airport
Amid the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s especially important to remain observant and to keep your guard up. Watch your wallet and be sure to put your identification away as soon as you clear security. You do not want to lose your license. It may make it difficult to check in or to fly home.
Don’t agree to watch anyone else’s baggage. Be mindful of keeping your belongings close to you so that they don’t disappear. And be sure to report any items that are unattended.
Should you hear a loud noise or anything indicating violence, move away from it rather than toward it. Don’t blindly follow the rush of panicked travelers. You may want to head to a quiet or safer place, such as a restroom. Here’s information on how to handle an active-shooter situation. And be sure to follow the instructions of law enforcement personnel.
As always, Los Angeles Airport Police Officers are engaged and committed to protecting our airports and our city. We are proud to work with our community to make holiday travel as smooth and secure as possible. We wish all of you joy and peace this season and throughout the new year.