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TSA Sees Best Single Day Passenger Totals Since March

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, volume topped one million travelers on Sunday, Oct. 18.

October 21, 2020

Over one million passengers TSA checkpoints nationwide on Sunday, Oct. 18, the highest number of passengers screened on a single day since March 17, according to statistics from the Transportation Security Administration. For the week of Oct. 12 through Oct. 18, TSA screened a total of 6.1 million passengers, the highest weekly volume for TSA since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Sunday’s total topped the number of passengers screened on the Friday of Labor Day weekend, when TSA reported 968,000 travelers passing through its checkpoints.

Although passenger volumes remain well below pre-pandemic levels, the agency describes the one million single-day passenger number a “noteworthy development” on the road to recovery for the country’s aviation industry.

“TSA has been diligent in our efforts to ensure checkpoints are clean, safe and healthy for frontline workers and airline passengers, implementing new protocols and deploying state-of-the-art technologies that improve security and reduce physical contact,” said TSA administrator David Pekoske.

For example new devices are being installed at various airport checkpoints, enabling passengers to insert their ID directly into a card reader, eliminating a touchpoint. Many checkpoints now also feature computed tomography scanners, allowing TSA officers to clear items without having to open a carry-on bag. The new CT scanner further reduces the need for a passenger to remove contents of their bag during the screening process.

The agency has also established an ongoing “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure.” campaign designed to prepare airline travelers for new procedures they can expect at TSA checkpoints. TSA also encourages travelers to follow CDC and other COVID-19 related health guidelines established by airports, airlines and local jurisdictions at departure and arrival locations.