The Transportation Security Administration data showed over 2 million passengers were screened at US airports over the long Labor Day weekend. Nearly half that total came on Friday, when 968,000 travelers flew – the highest number since March 17.
The increase may indicate a renewed confidence in air travel and increasing frustration after a long stay-at-home summer. By comparison, on the Friday of this year’s Memorial Day weekend, screeners only saw just under 340,000 passengers, and well above the lowest point on April 14, when TSA screened only 87,534 passengers.
Still, the total for this Labor Day Friday were still 50 percent lower compared to same time last year when nearly 2.2 million people went through TSA checkpoints
The lagging numbers spell a long period of recovery for the world’s airlines, as carriers struggle to woo passengers back with incentives and new procedures, including scrapping unpopular change fees, promising advanced cleaning protocols and compelling masks for all travelers.
TSA says it has also updated procedures to protect both passengers and TSA officers, such as wearing masks and respecting social distancing.
As a result, according to TSA administrator David Pekoske, “For travelers who have not flown since the beginning of the pandemic, the TSA checkpoint experience will be noticeably different as compared to Labor Day last year.”