TSA Screens Highest Number of Passengers Since February 2020

Nearly 2.5 million passengers took the skies on Sunday.

Travelers at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in the Queens borough of New York, US, on Friday, July 1, 2022.

Angus Mordant/Getty Images

The Transportation Security Administration screened more than 2.49 million passengers over the weekend, the highest single day total since before the pandemic.

A total of 2,494,757 passengers passed through airports in the United States on Sunday, according to TSA throughput data, marking the first time since February 2020 passenger numbers reached that high. That was in addition to the more than 2 million passengers that were screened on Saturday and the more than 2.47 million passengers that were screened on Friday.

While Sunday’s travel numbers didn’t come close to surpassing the same date in 2019 when the TSA screened just over 2.6 million travelers, it was the highest number of airport travelers since Feb. 14, 2020, when the TSA also saw just under 2.5 million passengers.

"After two years of delaying travel, it is clear that consumers are getting out and traveling the world," Delta Air Lines’ Chief Executive Ed Bastian told Reuters last week. "Business travel continues to recover in line with our expectations as bookings have improved after Labor Day and companies reconnect with their teams and their customers."

Air travel in the U.S. has been increasing in popularity in recent months with several records broken over the summer, including on July 1 when the TSA screened 2,490,490 passengers. It comes as the country prepares for what is expected to be a busy holiday season with 47% of people surveyed recently indicating they plan to travel over the holiday break with almost half of those planning to fly.

Holiday flight prices, especially over Christmas, are also expected to reach the highest they’ve been in five years. That’s hardly surprising considering flight prices in the U.S. have jumped more than 42% in the past year and started to creep up in September after months of price drops

Still, even with travel nearly at pre-pandemic levels, domestic air travel remains down 7% and international air travel remains down 6% compared to 2019, according to October data from trade group Airlines for America.

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