Fuming Passengers Wait in Long Lines at North Carolina Airport Over Holiday Weekend
The TSA reported that over 600,000 Americans traveled over Memorial Day weekend, as many states ease shelter-in-place orders
In a video from North Carolina's Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Monday, shared to Twitter by WCNC Charlotte reporter Hunter Sáenz, dozens of travelers could be seen lined up, many without masks, while waiting to reach a TSA checkpoint.
"The line is wrapped and looping around the lobby for TSA," Sáenz said. "I’m told people are growing frustrated/missing flights. And I don’t see much social distancing at all."
Sáenz shared another photo from the scene that depicted travelers — who were visibly breaking the 6-feet-apart social distance rule that the CDC has recommended — waiting in the lengthy lines.
Roughly half of the travelers captured in Sáenz's photo were without a mask.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported that over 600,000 people flew over Memorial Day weekend. 348,673 people traveled on Friday and 253,190 people traveled on Saturday, with an additional 267,451 people and 340,769 people boarding planes on Sunday and Monday, respectively.
Those numbers showed significant drops compared to Memorial Day weekend in 2019, when the TSA recorded nearly 2.7 million, 2.1 million, 2 million and 2.5 million across those same four days.
While the air travel industry has been hit hard amid the outbreak, the number of travelers has slowly begun to rise as of late.
In late April, the TSA began reporting an uptick in passengers, with April 26th seeing the highest numbers of airport screenings since April 3.
Typically, the TSA may scan over 2 million travelers per day. Back on March 1, prior to the U.S. beginning shelter-in-place orders, the agency reported nearly 2.3 million passengers flying that day.
By April 3, there were 129,763 reported travelers. The numbers began to decline over the next several weeks as the coronavirus continued to spread at enormous numbers across the country.
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All three of the major U.S. airlines — Delta, United and American — have taken massive financial hits due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In a joint letter issued to United Airlines employees on April 15, CEO Oscar Munoz and President Scott Kirby said the company saw a 97 percent drop in demand during the first two weeks of April compared to the same time frame in 2019.
The pair said that they “expect to fly fewer people during the entire month of May than we did on a single day in May 2019.” They also warned their employees that pay cuts will likely happen in the coming months.
As of May 26, over 1.6 million people in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19, while nearly 100,000 have died from the illness, according to the New York Times database.
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