Air Travel Hits Pandemic-Era High with 7.1 Million Travelers (Up 450%) for Memorial Day Weekend

TSA officers screened an average of 1.78 million people from Friday to Monday of the holiday weekend

Memorial Day weekend travelers at LAX
Photo: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty

Air travel volume boomed over Memorial Day Weekend to the highest numbers since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

From Friday to Monday, an average of 1.78 million people were screened by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), with the highest number of screenings taking place Friday (1.96 million), according to the TSA travel logs.

In total, 7.1 million people passed through airport security during the holiday weekend.

Air travel this past weekend was up nearly 450 percent from the 2020 numbers for Memorial Day Weekend, which saw a total of 1.3 million people and an average of 52,947 people travel through the airport that weekend, according to TSA data.

However, 2021's travel numbers for the holiday weekend were still down 22 percent from Memorial Day Weekend in 2019, per TSA.

Travelers wearing protective face masks arrive at Orlando International Airport on the Friday before Memorial Day
Travelers head to the airport wearing masks. Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

The expected uptick comes as vaccination rollout continues across the U.S. and mask mandates and restrictions have been either fully dropped or relaxed in all 50 states. COVID-19 cases and deaths have also reached record lows in the country.

As of Tuesday, 62.6 percent of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 51.5 percent of adults have been fully vaccinated against the virus, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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In April, the CDC ruled that fully vaccinated travelers no longer have to get tested before or after they fly, unless it is a requirement set by their destination. They also do not need to quarantine after travel.

Despite the adjusted rules, vaccinated travelers are still recommended to continue taking COVID-19 precautions seriously by wearing a mask, staying socially distant and washing hands frequently.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

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