Good Friday was one of the busiest days for US airports in 13 months, despite the rising threats of COVID-19 rates. With nearly 104.2 million people vaccinated, or 31% of the population received at least one dose, millions of Americans flooded airports over the holiday weekend to visit loved ones or simply go on vacation (something they haven't done in over a year).
The latest figures from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) show airport security checkpoints screened 1,580,785 people at US airports on Friday, the highest amount of travelers screen since March 12, 2020.
On Saturday, TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein tweeted:
"TSA screened 1,580,785 people at airport checkpoints nationwide yesterday, Friday, April 2. It was the highest checkpoint throughput since March 12, 2020. So if you're planning to travel you should get to the airport 90 minutes early, socially distance and wear a mask."
On Sunday, Farbstein also said:
"TSA screened 1,397,958 people at airport checkpoints nationwide yesterday, Saturday, April 3. For perspective, one year ago, TSA screened 118,302 people. So we're seeing something like an 800 percent increase from last year's checkpoint throughput. Wear that mask!"
Friday's throughput was a 12x increase from the same time last year when the country was in lockdowns and air travel crashed.
TSA data for the holiday weekend was partially available (only from April 2-3); nevertheless, it showed nearly three million people traveled between Friday and Saturday, significantly higher than the same period last year.
Since February, the 7-day average of TSA airport security checkpoints screened has erupted as Covid vaccine doses administered reached nearly 3 million shots per day - pushing the total amount Americans to 104.2 million vaccinated, or 31% of the population received at least one dose. This has perhaps given many folks the courage to fly once more. Also, the rise in travel coincides when the Biden administration dished out another round of stimulus checks.
"As a percentage of 2019, starting in mid-February, passengers departing from US airports have tentatively started to trend higher. TSA is currently screening 9.9mn passengers per week vs 15.9mn in 2019," said data firm Exante Data.
SKVentures' Paul Kedrosky has yet to observe a "resurgence in businesses business travel, the new-new normal for US air travel could be lower and spikier, driven by holiday patterns."