TSA: Passenger screenings passed 900,000 over Labor Day weekend

The TSA (Transportation Security Agency) reported Tuesday that more people flew over the Labor Day weekend than at any other point in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some 935,308 passengers went through TSA checkpoints on Monday, setting a new record. That betters the previous high of 862,949 that was set on Aug. 16.

The number of passengers who went through TSA checkpoints went over 900,000 twice during the long holiday weekend – first on Friday with 968,673, then again on Monday. Thursday also saw higher-than-average traffic with 877,673 passengers being screened.

Though the TSA numbers approached 1 million for the first time since the country went on lockdown, they’re still a far cry from Labor Day weekend in 2019, when more than 2 million passed through checkpoints all but one day.

Tuesday also brought on new preliminary passenger statistics for July from the Department of Transportation.
The DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported that 18 U.S. airlines carried 21.4 million total passengers in July, which is 73% fewer than the same month last year.

Unsurprisingly, domestic travel accounted for the bulk of that number, with international travel contributing just 1.1 million passengers. Due to ongoing bans on U.S. citizens traveling to Europe and vice versa, that number is down 90% from 2019.

While those numbers are grim for the embattled consumer aviation industry, there was also some good news in the BTS announcement: Travel was up 30% over June and July’s year-over-year decline was the smallest since the pandemic began in March. Travel bottomed out at 3 million in April.

In addition, a new forecast from travel advice site TripAdvisor.com found that 65% of all travelers have a fall domestic getaway planned, 79% of whom intend to travel in September, the busiest autumn travel month.

TripAdvisor found that 55% of them are planning short getaways and 54% are considering road trips.
With social-distancing-friendly vacations in demand, TripAdvisor found that respondents are avoiding cities in favor of the beach and other outdoor-oriented spots. It found that 61% of respondents are thinking about outdoor or nature-focused trips.

Its forecast also found that Key Largo, Florida, is recovering the fastest of any other U.S. vacation spot. Its prospects are boosted by the declining rate of new COVID-19 cases in the Sunshine State. TripAdvisor also found that two other Florida beaches – St. Petersburg and Clearwater – are also rebounding nicely.

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