Passenger numbers surge to pandemic-level highs for Thanksgiving travel
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Travel warnings and a surge in coronavirus cases proved no match for pandemic-weary Americans fatigued of lockdowns and quarantines.
The number of travelers at U.S. airports hit pandemic-era highs around Thanksgiving as passengers took to the skies despite pleas from the Centers for Disease Control and other U.S. leaders to limit holiday gatherings.
Nearly 1.18 million people were screened Sunday at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints, the highest total since travel cratered in March at the outset of the pandemic. And Sunday’s record topped the previous pandemic-era record of 1,070,967 set just four days prior.
Those numbers are still down nearly 60% compared to the same period last year, when nearly 2.9 million passengers were screened on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
But this year’s totals do follow a typical trend for Thanksgiving that sees passenger numbers spike on the Wednesday before and Sunday after the Thursday holiday.
Below are the 10 busiest days since March 16 as determined by the number of travelers screened by the TSA.
- March 16 (Thursday): 1,257,823 travelers screened
- Nov. 29 (Sunday): 1,176,091
- Nov. 25 (Wednesday): 1,070,967
- Nov. 22 (Sunday): 1,047,934
- Oct. 18 (Sunday): 1,031,505
- Nov. 20 (Friday): 1,019,836
- Nov. 21 (Saturday): 984,369
- Oct. 11 (Sunday): 984,234
- Oct. 25 (Sunday): 983,745
- Nov. 15 (Sunday): 978,279
Featured photo by David McNew/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy Bonus Points after spending $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 8/31/22.
- 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
- 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
- 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
- Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
- Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
- Terms apply.
- See Rates & Fees