June 14, 2021 -- The Transportation Security Administration said more than 2 million people passed through airport security checkpoints on Friday and again on Sunday – another sign that the United States is returning to pre-pandemic norms.
Friday’s numbers totaled 2,028,961, marking the first time the TSA has topped the 2 million mark since the pandemic was declared in March 2020, the agency said in a news release. The number of Friday travelers represents 74% of travel volume versus the same day in 2019 and is 1.5 million more travelers than the same day in 2020, the TSA said. On Sunday, 2,097,433 travelers were screened.
“The growing number of travelers demonstrates this country’s resilience and the high level of confidence in COVID-19 counter measures, to include ready access to vaccines,” Darby LaJoye, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the TSA Administrator, said in the release. “TSA stands ready to provide a safe and secure screening process as part of the overall travel experience.”
The TSA said it used to screen 2 million to 2.5 million people daily before the pandemic. After the COVID surge early last year, airport screenings dropped to a low of 87,534 on April 13, 2020. By mid-May 2021, the TSA’s average daily volume for screenings was approximately 65% of pre-pandemic levels.
The advent of the national vaccination program turned things around. Daily screenings have risen steadily and have topped 1 million every day since March 11, 2021, TSA statistics show.
Vaccinations have also climbed. The CDC says 64% of American adults and 52% of the total population has gotten at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, and 54% of adults and 43% of the total population is fully vaccinated.
Travel numbers will go up with the summer season, the TSA says.
“TSA advises passengers to arrive at the airport with sufficient time to accommodate increased screening times as traveler volumes approach, and in some cases surpass, pre-pandemic levels at certain airports,” the agency said.
The TSA still has a face mask mandate for airports, planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation through Sept. 13.
The CDC continues to recommend that people don’t travel nationally or internationally unless they’re fully vaccinated.