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Air Travel in the US Sets Pandemic High Water Mark

TSA screens more than 1 million passengers for four straight days, most most since March 15, 2020

March 16, 2021

Over a year into the global pandemic, the US airline industry is showing renewed signs of life. Last Friday, the Transportation Security Administration said it screened 1.37 million passengers, the highest number of travelers screened at US airports on a single day since March 15, 2020.

The number is well above the COVID-19 low water mark of 87,500 passengers screened on April 14, 2020. This past weekend also marked four straight days – including Friday – when the TSA screened more than a million passengers in each day.

However as a point of comparison, the 1.37 million screened Friday was a little more than half the 2.5 million passengers that the TSA screened on the same day in 2019.

The growth in air travel comes as the US continues to ramp up vaccinations, passing the milestone of 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses last week. The availability of vaccines is one major factor that has buoyed confidence among air travelers, according to a recent IATA poll.

However, despite the news about increased inoculations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest guidelines released last week warned that even fully vaccinated people should continue to avoid nonessential travel.