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The TSA screened more than 1 million flyers per day for the last 10 days

March 21, 2021
4 min read
The TSA screened more than 1 million flyers per day for the last 10 days
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While nothing like the passenger numbers from 2019's spring travel season -- which hit more than 2.5 million people per day on many dates throughout peak spring break -- we have achieved an important milestone. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says it has screened more than 1 million passengers per day for the last 10 consecutive days: March 11–20, 2021.

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Throughout the last year, the coronavirus pandemic has suppressed air travel to a degree we haven't seen in a long time. When the world went into lockdown last March, the TSA began screening far fewer passengers per day than usual.

TSA screenings dropped below 1 million on March 17, 2020, when 953,699 people passed through checkpoints. Screening numbers bottomed out at 87,534 travelers on April 14, 2020.

And, that trend went on for months. In fact, it wasn't until Oct. 18, 2020, that the TSA screened more than 1 million people in one day since the pandemic began. On that day, 1.03 million people traveled through U.S. airports.

That was still less than 40% of 2019 levels, but the million-flyer mark is a symbolic threshold for the recovery of the travel industry in the U.S.

Related: How the pandemic has forever changed the airport experience

The day after Christmas, we saw five consecutive days that reached 1 million screened passengers and then three consecutive days hitting that mark after New Year's Day. After that, passenger numbers ebbed a bit.

Of course, air travel in 2021 is still drastically down from where it was previously. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), systemwide air travel is down 62% from 2019 and domestic air travel is down 59% from 2019. (Systemwide passengers are those on all U.S. scheduled airline flights -- domestic & international -- and domestic passengers are those on flights from one U.S. airport to another U.S. airport.)

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But, as spring returned, so did flyers. And, 10 consecutive days of more than 1 million people screened at U.S. airports in March is something to celebrate.

Screenshot courtesy of the TSA

What's accounting for this frenzy of airport activity? More and more people are being vaccinated against COVID-19. Those that previously didn't feel safe traveling are more confident now and are booking trips.

Related: From Alaska to Greece, your return to travel starts with these 5 destinations

The time of year is also a factor. It's a year into the pandemic and it coincides with spring break, a time of year where it's traditional for all types of people to plan a getaway. Now that we know more about how to stay safe and avoid COVID-19, plenty of unimmunized people are also traveling -- though they may be opting for trips to national parks or wide-open beach areas and staying in vacation home rentals, where it's easy to maintain social distancing protocols.

Related: Ready to travel? These are the 11 things you need to do before leaving home

According to The New York Times, "Over the past week, there has been an average of 54,949 cases per day, a decrease of 9 percent from the average two weeks earlier. As of Sunday afternoon, more than 29,825,300 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus."

Featured image by AFP/Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
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Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more