Airports across the US are getting busy as more and more people take to the skies.
Current trends across US airports are suggesting a solid rebound in air travel. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been reporting an increasing number of passengers screened at airport security checkpoints across the US for weeks, with March 11th being the third-busiest day over the last two years.
3rd busiest day
Security personnel at US airports are witnessing some of the busiest days at work since COVID-19 began. The Points Guy cited TSA data which showed that agents screened 2,297,374 people on Friday, March 11th, making it the 3rd busiest day in the last two years.
Interestingly, these numbers are independent of a major holiday such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Day. However, the present college spring break season is likely a significant contributor.
But overall, with COVID cases dropping steadily, weather warming up, and a general sense of things looking up, seem to be encouraging more and more people to take to the skies. While Friday’s numbers were still less than the volume seen during last year’s Thanksgiving period, it was significantly more than 2021-22 Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Air traffic volume picking up fast
Compared to the same day last year, March 11th, 2022, saw 62 percent more traffic. But a quick glance at TSA numbers suggests that they have been improving for a while. While the typical busy December season was hit by the Omicron wave resulting in lower traffic, things have been looking up since then.
In January 2022, more than 46 million people were screened at US airports, with daily passengers crossing 2 million for the first time this year on February 18th. While passenger volume fluctuates every day, it has remained above 1.5 million for more than a month and around the 2 million mark on many days.
These numbers correspond to the overall trends seen lately as more and more people seem ready to pack their bags and head out for a summer vacation. According to The New York Times, travel agents and operators are reporting a massive increase in bookings for the spring and summer seasons.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) also expects travel and tourism to reach pre-pandemic levels in 2022, contributing nearly $2 trillion to the US economy.
TSA predicts busy days ahead
Many US airports are already witnessing heavy footfall, and things are expected to only get busier. The Colorado Springs Airport projects a 10% increase in travelers this year compared to 2021, and across the country, TSA officers are screening on an average 50% more people than last year.
Many airports, such as the Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina, are also reporting parking lots running at full capacity as more people feel confident to fly again.
Anticipating delays in the coming days driven by the spring break rush, TSA has come up with tips for passengers to avoid spending long lines at security, such as leaving prohibited items at home and following rules that limit liquids in carry-on luggage.