On Sunday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened more than 2.46 million people passing through airport security checkpoints around the nation. That represents the highest number of airport passengers seen in a single day since before COVID-19 struck.
In its running tally of daily passenger counts, the TSA recorded that a total of 2,462,097 passengers were screened at security checkpoints on June 26. It marks the first time since the pre-pandemic era that the agency has seen such high traveler throughput since February 11, 2020, when the number of passengers screened was over 2.5 million.
The new post-COVID record number of passenger screenings arrives as airports and airlines struggle to cope with an influx of American travelers who are eager to take the summer vacations they’ve been postponing for the past two years.
Contending with staffing insufficiencies, equipment shortages and episodes of extreme weather around the nation over the past several weeks, airlines and airports have been severely backed up; with passengers enduring extra-long wait times, and often finding that their flights have been delayed or canceled.
The 4th of July holiday is forecasted to be an incredibly busy travel period, as Americans attempt to get out and make the most of the summer. As Travel + Leisure observed, in the month leading up to the much-anticipated long weekend, U.S. airports have seen over two million passengers on all except two days.
Air travel has been on the rise for several months now, and the last couple of federal holidays have given us an idea of what we might expect for the Independence Day weekend. A total of 11.2 million travelers traversed U.S. airports over the Memorial Day holiday period, while over 9.4 million took to the skies over the Juneteenth/Father’s Day long weekend.
Tips for Travelers
Knowing that they are likely to face hassles and delays during their journey, travelers should attempt to be as prepared as possible before arriving at the airport. Be sure you have the correct (and valid) form of identification, such as a passport for overseas trips or a driver’s license for domestic (luckily, REAL ID requirements won’t’ go into effect until May 3, 2023).
Also, arrive at the airport even earlier than you usually would to allow extra time for long lines at check-in, baggage check and security, and pack your carry-ons strategically so you can get through TSA screening as smoothly as possible. For example, make your laptops and electronic devices easy to get in and out of your bags, and gather all the items from your pockets together while you’re waiting in line to expedite the process.
Additionally, the TSA advises travelers to do their homework when it comes to knowing what they can and cannot pack in their baggage. For the 4th of July, passengers should take particular note of the rules against “highly flammable” items—including all forms of fireworks, firecrackers and sparklers. The agency maintains a comprehensive list of what is and isn’t allowed in checked and carry-on bags on its website.