Sunday, November 30, 2014

All quiet

Thanksgiving weekend in the US is traditionally the busiest travel period of the year. The busiest travel day of the year is usually either the Wednesday before, or the Sunday after, the holiday. For those of you outside the states, our Thanksgiving holiday falls on the fourth Thursday of November, regardless of the date. This year, LAX is again projected to be the busiest airport in the country: Nearly two million passengers are expected to pass through LAX during the five-day holiday travel period, which starts on the Wednesday before and runs through the following Sunday. As you might expect, most of this travel actually takes place on one of those two days; the intervening days are slower than normal. On the actual day, for instance, LAX ran about 1,200 operations this year. On an average Thursday, we would have between 1,700 and 1,800 operations. Things were very slow on Friday as well, with several hundred fewer operations than normal. One example I can offer is this shot of Terminal One, which is now completely Southwest Airlines. It was nine in the morning, and Southwest hadn't moved a single airplane yet. Their first departure of a normal day is usually around six in the morning; on the day after Thanksgiving, their first departure pushed off the gate a bit before ten.


  1. I always found it interesting how they just double park SouthWest planes in that first ally there, as if there is a valet on the tarmac running around with keys and organizing the planes.

  2. Thanks Captain for the stunning photos and the interesting statistics on Thanksgiving travel. I wonder if Black Friday had anything to do with the slowmo on the runways there.
    I listened on my scanner and picked up pretty good radio transmissions on SoCal Approach frequencies as well as LA Tower frequencies. It was great too hear pilots and air traffic controllers exchanged Thanksgivings wishes before every hand off. Very interesting.