The Complete Guide to Navigating LA’s Busy Airports During the Month of November
The Complete Guide to Navigating LA’s Busy Airports During the Month of November
LA airports like Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Long Beach Airport (LGB), and Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) serve millions of passengers every year. These traffic levels can make getting through them without running into any issues or incurring any delays something of a challenge at the best of times. In November, however, successfully navigating LA’s airports becomes almost impossible. From folks trying to get home to visit family for the holidays to business people attempting to visit clients before the end of the year, it can seem like half of Los Angeles is at the airport during this crazy month.
If you are planning on taking a November flight from LGB, LAX, or BUR, and don’t want to deal with any problems, the following tips and tricks are likely to come in handy:
Book an Early Morning Flight
The preparation for your November flight from LGB, BUR, or LAX should begin before you ever even book your ticket. While scrolling through your options online, you should check to see if there are any planes headed to your destination that leave early in the morning. Try to shoot for a time before 9:00 AM, if possible. Once you find one that suits your needs, book it.
You aren’t choosing an early flight because you love how the sunrise looks from the terminal window. Instead, you are choosing to leave in the morning because there will be significantly fewer people in your chosen airport at that time – allowing you to breeze through without encountering too many issues.
Be Flexible on Dates
When searching for plane tickets online, it can also pay dividends to be flexible with your travel dates. If, for instance, you are planning on visiting your family for Thanksgiving, you will probably be tempted to try to book a flight that leaves on Wednesday and returns on Sunday.
Unfortunately, just about everybody else in Los Angeles will have the exact same idea. As such, you are likely to encounter higher-than-normal pricing and serious delays at the airport if you decide to travel on those days.
If you would like to save some money and avoid problems at the airport, you should use your favorite flight comparison site to look at alternative dates. If you are willing to leave a couple of days early and come home a few days later, you are likely to have a much more pleasant traveling experience.
Opt for Smaller Airports
In November of 2018, Los Angeles International Airport serviced almost 7 million people. Meanwhile, a much more manageable 300,000 people passed through Long Beach Airport, and Hollywood Burbank Airport serviced about 500,000 passengers. If you would prefer not to deal with massive crowds, you should try to avoid traveling through LAX in November.
Instead, consider opting to fly out of one of the small airports – such as BUR or LGB. Because they have far fewer passengers, you will be significantly less likely to run into any problems. Of course, if you do end up having an issue, it will also be much easier to get the help you need, since the customer service kiosk won’t be overrun by other travelers.
The check-in desk is a common source of delays at all of LA’s airports. Depending on the day you travel on, you could find yourself waiting for close to an hour to make your way to the front of the line and get your boarding pass.
To avoid dealing with this problem, you should try to remember to check-in online the day before your flight – assuming your airline allows it. You will then be able to print off your boarding pass or send it to your smartphone, allowing you to skip the check-in kiosks entirely and head straight to security.
To maximize the benefit of your online check-in, you should also endeavor to limit your luggage to just a carry-on bag. If you are just traveling for a few days, you shouldn’t have too much trouble fitting all of your necessary clothing and travel accessories into a standard backpack. By doing so and avoiding the need to check a bag, you can save a significant amount of time and trouble.
Pack Some Food
When traveling in November, you are likely to encounter some seriously lengthy lines at the bars and restaurants in your chosen LA airport. On especially busy days, you may even need to queue up to use the vending machines! If you are trying to rush to your gate, this predicament will leave you with two main choices – skip your meal and go hungry or line up and hope you don’t miss your flight.
Since neither of these is a particularly attractive option, you may wish to consider packing some food to bring with you to the airport instead. Sandwiches, fruit, and candy bars are all easy to eat while on the go and should fill you up for at least a couple of hours. Remember to fill up before you go through security, though. You don’t want them to throw away your snacks.
Bring a Book
No matter how well prepared you are, traveling through LAX, LGB, or BUR over the holidays is likely to involve quite a bit of waiting around – especially if your flight is delayed for any reason. Though you may be tempted to use your phone or tablet to keep you entertained during this time, you may find that there won’t be any available outlets to charge it in once your battery runs low. As such, packing a good book to read is a much better option.
If you don’t have a suitable book at home, you can always opt to purchase one at the airport. However, you should expect the lines to be long and the prices to be quite a bit above average.
Consider Signing Up for the TSA Pre-Check Program
One of the biggest issues that you are likely to run into when traveling in November is lengthy security lines. If you are particularly unlucky, you may find yourself waiting for more than half an hour as other passengers struggle to take belts off and transfer items from their bags into the security bins.
If you would like to avoid this nightmare scenario, you may wish to consider signing up for the TSA Pre-Check Program. Once you pass a background check and have been successfully approved, you will be able to avoid the standard security line and instead head over to the designated Pre-Check line. The expedited screening process in this line means that you can usually make it through in less than five minutes.
Understand the Rules and Procedures
If you are flying out of BUR in November and want to avoid delays, make sure that you fully understand all of the rules and procedures of the airport and your airline before you arrive. The same is true if you plan on taking a November flight from LGB or LAX.
You can usually look up airport regulations, directions, opening hours, and other key information on their website. Giving yourself some basic knowledge of where to go and when you can go there will help you fly through the airport once you arrive.
Most of the information you need to know about your airline’s rules and procedures will probably be printed on your ticket. However, it may be a good idea to check their website as well – just to be safe. When doing your research, you should pay special attention to gate closing times, bag size restrictions, and delay/cancellation procedures.
Leave Home Earlier Than Usual
When traveling in November, particularly around Thanksgiving, it is usually a good idea to leave home a little earlier than you ordinarily would. Doing so will give you plenty of time to deal with any traffic delays that you experience on your way to the airport and any issues that you might run into once you arrive.
Exactly how early you need to leave will, of course, depend on how far you live from your chosen airport. Generally speaking, you should probably take your regular commute time and add around 50 percent to it. If your drive to the airport would ordinarily take about an hour, this rule would mean that you instead plan as though it will actually take you 90 minutes.
Book Your Parking Space in Advance
LA’s airports can be utterly packed during the month of November. The same is true of the airports’ parking garages. After all, those passengers had to get to their terminals somehow. What all of this means for you is that you may find it tough to find a place to park near your chosen airport if you decide to leave it until the day of your flight to make a booking.
If you want to avoid this problem and guarantee yourself a spot, you should make a reservation in advance at one of the following affordable airport parking lots and garages:
105 Airport Parking
When traveling through LAX in November, there is no better place to leave your vehicle than 105 Airport Parking at 898 North Pacific Coast Highway, El Segundo, California. This affordable airport parking garage offers covered self-parking for as little as $11.95 per day. Once you pull in and find your perfect spot, a complimentary shuttle bus will be along within 15-20 minutes to take you to your terminal. Since the garage is so close to the airport, the transfer shouldn’t take any longer than about 10 minutes.
Joe’s Airport Parking
Traveling through LAX in November is a joy when you choose to park your car at Joe’s Airport Parking. For just $14.95 per day, this affordable airport parking lot offers an outdoor parking spot, luggage assistance, and a round-trip shuttle to your terminal. When you reserve a space at this LAX parking destination, you will even receive a free coffee and newspaper as soon as you arrive.
Of course, the best thing about Joe’s Airport Parking is how easy it is to access. If you are coming in from Redondo Beach or West Torrance, all you need to do is head north on State Route 1 until you reach the exit for Century Blvd. and the airport. From there, it is just a short trip around the block until you reach the lot at 6141 West Century Boulevard, Los Angeles, California.
Hampton Inn & Suites Los Angeles Burbank Airport
If you are planning on flying out of BUR in November, you may wish to reserve affordable airport parking at the Hampton Inn & Suites Los Angeles Burbank Airport, at 7501 N Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, California, a few weeks before your flight. A covered valet spot at this handy lot will cost you just $9.50 per day. For your money, you will receive an on-demand shuttle bus service and assistance with all of your luggage.
While you are out of town, you can be confident that your vehicle is safe at Hampton Inn & Suites Los Angeles Burbank Airport. With a 24-hour security guard and a suite of surveillance cameras on-site, your car will be well protected at all times.
Remain Calm and Polite to Airport Staff
Flying out of LA’s airports in November can be a stressful experience. However, the same can be said of working at the airport during such a busy month. As such, you should try to remain calm, kind, and polite to all of the staff that you encounter as you make your way to your plane – no matter how difficult your day has been.
In fact, it is precisely when you run into trouble that your kindness is most likely to pay off. If you treat the airport workers with respect and dignity, they are much more likely to go the extra mile to help you out of whatever jam you happen to have found yourself in.
Make Your November Travel Plans a Success
Traveling in November doesn’t have to be difficult. By following the tips and tricks outlined above, you can avoid running into any problems and make your trip to the airport run smoothly. Once you make it onto your plane, all that will be left to do is enjoy your trip!