Despite growing concern over the omicron variant, hundreds of thousands of people will fly through the Los Angeles International Airport over the course of the 2021 holiday season.
Sunday, Dec. 19, along with the following two Sundays, are expected to be the busiest travel days of the year.
The rush was already in full swing at LAX, with traffic, crowds and long lines the weekend before Christmas.
“Normally it takes us about two and a half hours, three hours, to get here,” said Shawna Zaragoza, traveling from Tehachapi, California. “It took like five.”
Some people even missed their flights amid the rush.
“We just were a little later than we should have been,” said Howard Nehdar, on his way to Lake Tahoe.
Staff with LAX say they expect the next two Sundays to be just as busy, with an estimated 200,000 people passing through the airport on each of those days.
LAX anticipates peak travel times between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., and again between 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.
They also warn that parking garages will likely fill up fast, advising people to pre-book a space at this website.
Air travel is making a big comeback this year amid concerns over the omicron variant. But passengers say they feel comfortable flying.
“I’m confident in what’s going on and everyone keeping masks on and keeping safe,” said Dott Jay, traveling to New York. “We’re all vaccinated, so we’re not too worried.”
Also important to keep in mind are the new federal guidelines, requiring international travelers entering the U.S. to receive a negative COVID-19 test within one day of their departure, regardless of their vaccination status.