Memorial Day Weekend: TSA screens most passengers of pandemic-era

Air travel has reached new pandemic-era highs this Memorial Day Weekend.

Last year, Memorial Day Weekend fell between May 22 and May 25. In that timeframe, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened 1.1 million passengers. This holiday weekend, the TSA has screened more passengers than that so far on a daily basis. 

On Friday, 1.9 million passengers were screened, the most this year and the most since March 8, 2020, when the virus was just beginning to spread across the country. And on Saturday, TSA screened another 1.6 million travelers.

Sunday’s tally will be released Monday morning at 9 ET.

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This year’s numbers dwarf 2020’s total, but they’re still far behind 2019’s count, which saw more than 2 million passengers flying every day pre-pandemic. Even so, the number of travelers does suggest an eagerness to return to the skies after a year of life under lockdown.

In recent months, travelers have flocked back to America’s airports largely due to the decline in coronavirus cases and the relaxation of safety protocols. In April, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new safety guidelines that said vaccinated people are safe to travel domestically.

Memorial Day weekend travelers at LAX

Amid a busy getaway travel day for the Memorial Day weekend and the first holiday since coronavirus pandemic restrictions have been relaxed, a crowd of travelers wait in line to check-in for their flights at LAX at Delta Airlines, Terminal 2 at LAX F

Also in that span, airlines have discontinued the practice of blocking the middle seats on their planes — which allows for even more passengers.

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But it won’t just be airlines reaping the benefits of the surge in travelers. Hotels, rental car businesses, restaurants and ride-share providers are expected to capitalize on the resumption of pre-pandemic norms.

This story was reported from Atlanta.