Spring Break Prompts Pandemic-Era Record Number of Air Travelers

Folks who are expecting airports and planes to be fairly empty amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are in for a surprise if they’ll be flying out of U.S. airports over the spring break period.

Despite continued warnings from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to avoid travel, even if you’ve been vaccinated , Americans are taking to the skies in even greater numbers than during last year's Thanksgiving and end-of-year holidays.

The Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) latest passenger-screening tallies show that 1,223,057 flyers made their way through U.S. airports yesterday, on top of Friday’s 1,357,111 and Thursday’s 1,284,271. Figures have now topped 1 million passengers seven times already since the start of March, with more than half the month left to go.

Friday’s passenger count was the highest recorded since the Sunday after New Year’s (1,327,289) when Americans were heading home from their holiday celebrations.

USA Today pointed out that passenger numbers at this time last year had been higher (1,714,372 on March 13, 2020), as COVID-19 had been declared a pandemic only two days prior and perhaps the gravity of the situation for the U.S. had yet to set in. By April 2020, daily passenger counts had fallen below 90,000 and didn’t again exceed 1 million until October.

Although they’re at pandemic-era highs, this weekend’s numbers still fall far short of what they were prior to COVID-19. Even Friday’s high fell 46 percent short of the same day in 2019, when 2,503,924 flyers passed through TSA checkpoints.

For more information, visit tsa.gov/coronavirus/passenger-throughput .

Spring Break Prompts Pandemic-Era Record Number of Air Travelers

Hongxia Sun