Spring break surge: TSA reports its busiest day since March 2020
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.
U.S. air travel is coming back to life. Daily Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screenings have now topped one million people for eight days this March. And on Friday, March 12, the TSA screened the most people at airport security checkpoints since March 15, 2020.
In particular, the TSA screened 1,357,111 people on Friday. This number is still down 24% compared with the nearly 1.8 million people who passed through TSA checkpoints the same day one year ago. And this number is down 46% compared with the over 2.5 million TSA screened on the same day two years ago.
Get the latest points, miles and travel news by signing up for TPG’s free daily newsletter.
While these comparisons aren’t entirely fair because it’s not a Friday-to-Friday comparison, the takeaway is that passengers and workers are increasingly returning to U.S. airports.
Several factors contribute to increased air travel in the U.S. right now. First off, although some schools canceled spring break, many are still celebrating the holiday. For example, TPG’s Summer Hull took off late last week to celebrate spring break with her family on the ski slopes.
If you’re taking a spring break this year, check out the following content:
- What to expect if you are flying for spring break
- Is spring break sold out? This is what it’s like in Orlando, Cancun and Las Vegas
- Spring break isn’t canceled: How to staycation in your own city during the pandemic
- Yes, taking a safe spring break is possible — here’s how
The second factor likely contributing to increases air travel in the U.S. is COVID-19 vaccinations. After all, the CDC says fully vaccinated people can gather indoors without masks. And some destinations now allow vaccinated travelers, often requiring digital health passports.
Half of Americans say travel affects their decision to get vaccinated. And 49% of travelers would prefer to visit a destination requiring a COVID-19 vaccination. However, many Americans are still eagerly awaiting their turn for the vaccine. Luckily, all adults should be eligible for their first shot by May 1. If you’re struggling to get an appointment, check out our real-world tips for successfully booking the COVID-19 vaccine. After all, you may be able to use some of the same skills that help with finding flight deals and booking award travel to snag a vaccine when it’s your turn.
With U.S. air travel on the rise, I strongly recommend booking trips now. After all, it’s currently possible to snag inexpensive flights on many routes and low-cost hotels in many destinations. However, as travel demand increases, I expect many of the deals we’ve seen will vanish. I’ve snagged dynamically priced IHG awards as well as dynamically priced Hilton Honors awards while prices have been low. And I’ve booked mostly paid Marriott Bonvoy stays to lock in low cash prices.
I expect we’ll continue to see TSA screenings increase, especially on Fridays and Sundays, through the summer. After all, while business travel may remain stunted, many Americans are excited to take trips as temperatures rise and more of the U.S. population becomes vaccinated.
Featured image by Westend61/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees