2 Million Board U.S. Flights for the First Time Since Pandemic

Friday was the first time more than two million people boarded flights. Air travel was still below prepandemic levels.

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U.S. air travel surpasses 2 million people for the first time since the pandemic began.

Passengers at a security checkpoint at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in April.Credit…Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

June 12, 2021, 2:56 p.m. ET

More than two million travelers passed through U.S. airport security checkpoints on Friday, the first time since March 2020 that such a milestone had been reached, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

“The growing number of travelers demonstrates this country’s resilience and the high level of confidence in Covid-19 countermeasures,” Darby LaJoye, a T.S.A. official, said in a statement issued on Saturday. “T.S.A. stands ready to provide a safe and secure screening process as part of the overall travel experience.”

The agency screened 2,028,961 travelers on Friday, almost four times more than the 519,304 people that passed through security checkpoints a year earlier. Friday’s number is still only about 74 percent of the total on the same date in 2019, according to the T.S.A.

Air travel came close to hitting the two-million mark on the Friday before Memorial Day in May, when more than 1.95 million people went through security checkpoints, according to the T.S.A. Still, significantly more Americans preferred to travel by road for Memorial Day weekend. Before the holiday, AAA said it expected about nine out of 10 travelers would drive to their destinations.

Before the start of the pandemic, an average of about 2 million to 2.5 million travelers were screened daily by the T.SA., according to the agency. Since the pandemic, the lowest screening volume was recorded last year on April 13, when fewer than 88,000 air travelers went through security checkpoints, the agency said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in April that fully vaccinated Americans could travel at low risk.

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