TSA Screening Numbers Pass 1 Million for First Time Since Start of Pandemic

TSA processed 1,031,505 passengers during the week of Oct. 12 through Oct. 18.

For the first time since travel as we know it came to a halt in March, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that it screened more than one million passengers in a single day last week.

On Oct. 18, the TSA processed 1,031,505 passengers at airports around the country, according to current data. During the week from Monday, Oct. 12 through Sunday, Oct. 18, the TSA processed more than 6.1 million passengers at checkpoints from coast to coast.

Although the increase is a positive sign, after the drastic fall due to COVID-19, they are nowhere near “normal.” Last year on Oct. 18, the TSA processed more than 2.6 million passengers that day.

But the one million marker is significant as travel resumes considering that at its lowest point in April, the TSA processed only 87,534 passengers at all airports around the country in a single day.

TSA line
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Numbers have slowly been growing back over the past few months. On Sept. 4, the TSA reported more than 968,000 people passing through security, which was the first time since mid-March that the TSA screened more than 900,000 travelers in one day.

In response to the pandemic, the TSA has altered protocol at checkpoints.

“TSA has been diligent in our efforts to ensure checkpoints are clean, safe and healthy for frontline workers and airline passengers, implementing new protocols and deploying state-of-the-art technologies that improve security and reduce physical contact,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a press release on Monday.

Acrylic barriers help reduce contact between TSA officers and passengers. And new technology at select checkpoints has travelers scan their IDs themselves so officers do not need to touch them. New scanners also eliminate how many times an agent must open suitcases and investigate the contents.

In addition, the TSA also changed liquids rules for hand sanitizer, allowing travelers to pack up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer in their carry-on luggage.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. When in a new city, she's usually out to discover under-the-radar art, culture, and secondhand stores. No matter her location, you can find her on Twitter, on Instagram or at caileyrizzo.com.

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