On Thursday, the Transportation Security Administration reported its busiest day since March. As the demand dropped in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, it was the busiest day as many people travel on the long holiday weekend. That traditionally marks the end of the summer travel season.
Number of Passengers Increase
TSA screened 877,698 travelers on Thursday, the highest number since March 17. And the agency predicts that there will be more people traveling on Friday with the number of travelers most probably reaching 900,000.
“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,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a press release.
“Passengers also play an important role in helping us ensure they safely and efficiently get through security screening at our airports while wearing masks and respecting social distancing.”
However, U.S. airlines were expecting an increase in passenger numbers over Labor Day as it was on Memorial Day. And on the 4th of July, the number of passengers increased. But it was still down by 50% as compared to the same day last year.
Hot spot For Travelers
Most of the travel bookings of Labor Day have been for Florida, according to travel itinerary app TripIt.
“Florida is this year’s hot spot,” TripIt said in its findings. It also stated that bookings to the state have jumped 200% compared with Labor Day weekend last year.
However, experts are worried that an increase in travel to states where coronavirus cases are still active might cause a surge in COVID-19 cases.
“It’s very predictable,” ABC News contributor Dr. John Brownstein, chief innovation officer for the Boston Children’s Hospital and a professor of epidemiology at Harvard Medical School, said.
“Major holidays, where people are moving — increases in mobility lead to transmission. And you see cases start to surge two weeks later.”
The demand for air travel was gradually recovering. But when the number of coronavirus cases increased in the US especially in the Sun Belt, starting around late June, there was again a decline in air travel.
However, the number of passengers at the airport is 86% lower than last year. Therefore, airlines have reduced the number of flights they operate.
According to OAG, a global travel data provider has found that the US airlines have cut nearly 1,700 routes between January and May.