The U.S. recorded more than 2 million travelers moving through U.S. airports twice over the weekend, setting pandemic-era travel records and reaching a number not seen since early March of 2020.
On Sunday, nearly 2.1 million passengers were recorded, according to TSA data – the highest since March 7, 2020. The U.S. recorded just over 2 million travelers on Friday, too.
The days of empty airports and empty flights are clearly over, as a rapid vaccination campaign has helped quash the pandemic fueling a surge in spring and summer travel. After going more than seven months in 2020 without seeing 1 million travelers during the depths of the pandemic, the country has now gone three consecutive months without dipping below that number.
Federal health officials have given vaccinated Americans the green light to resume traveling – and they have. COVID-19 cases are nationwide are at their lowest point since the start of the pandemic. Countries in Europe and across the globe are reopening their borders to vaccinated travelers.
Travel remains down by roughly 20% compared to pre-pandemic numbers – and with a slower resumption in business and international travel, it could take another year or two to get back to 100%. But look at this interactive graphic we put together comparing TSA travel data since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the trendline is clear.
More people are getting on planes than at any point in the last 16 months. The graphic below shows a seven-day moving average of the percentage of travelers recorded in 2020 and 2021 compared to the same point before the pandemic.
Travel is coming back – and fast. The U.S. has recorded more than 2 million travelers in two of the last three days. Just a few months ago, that number felt far, far away.