May 29, 2021 - Economy

TSA sets passenger screening record at start of holiday weekend

Picture of travelers wearing masks waiting in line at a TSA screening checkpoint

Travelers wait in line at a TSA screening checkpoint at Orlando International Airport on the Friday before Memorial Day. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The Transportation Security Administration on Friday screened nearly 2 million people across the U.S. as the Memorial Day weekend kicked off, setting a new air travel record since the start of the pandemic.

The big picture: TSA spokesperson Mark Howell told Axios in April that the agency had been preparing for a surge in summer travel since the beginning of the year. The agency said in February it was looking to hire 6,000 new officers by Memorial Day.

  • Since international travel is still limited, summer trips are expected to be mostly domestic, Axios' Hope King reports.
  • Airport traffic in Orlando has reached 90% of 2019 levels, and hotels are booked solid along the Florida coasts, AP reports.

Flashback: The last time TSA screened 1.9 million people was on March 8, 2020.

  • This time in 2019, TSA screened more than 2.5 million travelers.

What to watch: Over 37 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more this Memorial Day weekend (6 million fewer than in 2019), according to AAA.

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