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TSA reports highest checkpoint volume at U.S. airports since start of COVID pandemic

The Transportation Security Administration reports that on Friday, 1,959,593 individuals were screened at airport checkpoints nationwide.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — As more and more people get vaccinated for COVID-19, many are choosing to travel during the long holiday weekend. 

The Transportation Security Administration reports that on Friday, 1,959,593 individuals were screened at airport checkpoints nationwide. According to a TSA spokesperson, this is the highest checkpoint volume since the COVID-19 pandemic began last year.

The TSA announced earlier in the week that it was ramping up operations ahead of the holiday weekend and summer months. 

“As passenger volumes continue to rise, TSA is ready for their return to airports across the country, equipped with enhanced airport security checkpoints, over 46,000 highly-trained security professionals, and valuable partnerships with stakeholders and industry, all to ensure a secure and seamless travel experience,” said Darby LaJoye, senior official performing the duties of the TSA administrator. 

“For those passengers returning to travel for the first time since 2019, be aware that some processes at the checkpoint have changed and some, like removing your shoes, remain in place. Additionally, during high volume months, travelers should plan to arrive early at the airport to complete the airport screening process and arrive timely at their departure gate.”

For more information about some of these changes, click here.

According to AAA, more than 37 million people will travel more than 50 miles from home this year for Memorial Day. That's up 60 percent from last year when only 23 million people traveled for the holiday. That was an all-time low since 2000 with AAA started tracking these stats. 

While the increase will be a welcomed sight for the travel industry, it's still 13 percent or about 6 million people less than 2019, the last pre-pandemic Memorial Day weekend.