US Surpasses One Million Daily Air Travelers

passengers at TSA checkpoint

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on Sunday screened over 1 million passengers, representing the highest number of passengers screened at TSA checkpoints since March 17, 2020.

Since the beginning of March, TSA has been recording the daily traveler throughput compared with the corresponding day of the week in 2019.

Sunday’s screening of 1,031,505 travelers represents a 61% decrease in traffic for the corresponding period last year which clocked in at 2,606,266.

The last day which saw more daily travelers was March 16, when 1,257,823 people were screened. The lowest number of passengers screened since the start of the pandemic was 87,534 on April 14, representing a 96% decrease compared to the same day of the week last year.

“TSA has been diligent in our efforts to ensure checkpoints are clean, safe and healthy for frontline workers and airline passengers, implementing new protocols and deploying state-of-the-art technologies that improve security and reduce physical contact,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske.

Although passenger volumes remain well below pre-pandemic levels, the one million single-day passenger volume is a noteworthy development that follows significant TSA checkpoint modifications in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. TSA has been deploying acrylic barriers and technologies that reduce or eliminate physical contact between passengers and TSA officers.

New credential authentication devices are being installed at various airport checkpoints, enabling passengers to insert their ID directly into a card reader, eliminating the need for a TSA screening officer to touch the ID. Many checkpoints now also feature computed tomography (CT) scanners, allowing TSA officers to manipulate an image on screen to get a better view of a bag’s contents. This technology often enables officers to clear items without having to open a carry-on bag. The new CT scanner further reduces the need for a passenger to remove contents of their bag during the screening process. 

Beyond TSA’s aggressive technology improvements and checkpoint modifications, it also established an ongoing “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure.” campaign designed to prepare airline travelers for new procedures they can expect at TSA checkpoints.

TSA also encourages travelers to follow CDC and other COVID-19 related health guidelines established by airports, airlines and local jurisdictions at departure and arrival locations.

Photo: Pittsburgh International Airport