Labor Day Weekend Airline Travel Exceeds 2019 Level

Labor Day Weekend Airline Travel Exceeds 2019 Level

Passengers moving through Charlotte Douglas International Airport. (photo by Patrick Clarke)

2019 will always be the benchmark for comparison in the travel industry, a dividing line between normalcy and the February 2020 emergency of the coronavirus pandemic.

As the chaotic summer of air travel came to a close Monday with the end of the Labor Day holiday weekend, airlines could finally smile and see in black-and-white a return to normalcy.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced this morning that its agents screened 8.76 million travelers during Labor Day weekend, exceeding 2019 passenger screening volumes for the first time over a holiday weekend

The TSA defines the time period as Friday, September 2, to Monday, September 5.

The 8.76 million fliers represent 102 percent of volume when compared to the same pre-pandemic holiday weekend in 2019 and is the first time that a holiday weekend passenger screening volume exceeds that of 2019.

In 2019, Labor Day was on Monday, Sept. 2, and TSA screened 8.62 million passengers. Friday was the heaviest travel day this year with 2.48 million passengers. The TSA noted that during the four-day period this year, 94.9 percent of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than 5 minutes in security lines and 01.7 percent of passengers in standard screening lanes waited less than 15 minutes.

“TSA’s highly trained and dedicated workforce facilitated secure travel for millions of passengers during the busy summer travel season with very little disruptions at the checkpoint,” TSA Acting Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement. “We were also able to continue the deployment of new technologies that facilitate stronger identity verification procedures and enhanced security screening for carry-on bags.”

That’s not to say airlines didn’t have issues. On Sunday and Monday, domestic carriers were forced to delay 8,000 flights and cancel another 224, according to data from FlightAware.

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