Data from the Transportation Security Agency showed an uptick in air travel over the Memorial Day weekend, marking the first time the TSA processed more than 300,000 travelers in a single day since March 23.
While the bump in air travel may be of some relief for airlines, this year’s numbers were anything but average or sustainable.
“Last year, 43 million Americans traveled for Memorial Day Weekend – the second-highest travel volume on record since AAA began tracking holiday travel volumes in 2000,” said AAA Travel Senior Vice President Paula Twidale. “With social distancing guidelines still in practice, this holiday weekend’s travel volume is likely to set a record low.
On Thursday, the TSA screened 318,449 travelers nationwide. On Friday, the number of travelers increased to 348,673. Saturday and Sunday saw a collective 520,641 travelers. Then on Memorial Day, the return day for many travelers, the TSA totaled 340,669 travelers.
According to the TSA, agency officers screened over 1.5 million travelers from Thursday to Monday over the Memorial Day weekend. In 2019, however, the TSA reported roughly 12 million travelers at their checkpoints in the same window.
The record low travel should come as little surprise to many amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Even AAA, one of the nation’s leading auto clubs, chose not to forecast Memorial Day travel for the first time in 20 years, citing their anticipation of record low travel on America’s roads as their reason for sitting out.
While many industries have been impacted, if not devastated, by the global shutdown, perhaps no industry has been hit quite as hard as the travel industry.
Following 10 years of monthly positive reports, tourism industry leaders reported roughly $519 billion in losses in early May.
“This is nine-times worse than Sept. 11,” said U.S. Travel President and CEO Roger Dow during a May 7 webinar. “It’s a real challenge.”