The Transportation Security Administration screened 1,031,505 travelers on Sunday, marking the first time since March 17 that airport security nationwide has seen more than 1 million daily passengers.
The new high is still a number “well below” pre-covid volumes, which abruptly halted when the pandemic slashed traveler numbers to a fraction of their normal levels in March, the agency says. During the same day last year, the TSA saw 2.6 million passengers.
“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,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a news release.
The agency has been implementing plastic barriers and touch-free ID scanning technologies at security checkpoints, the release noted.
Rising daily passenger totals come as the United States’ coronavirus single-day case totals hit the highest point since late July, The Washington Post reported. The surge also comes a little over a month before Thanksgiving, a holiday that typically brings the busiest travel day of the year.
If you’re worried about crowded airports amid the mounting case numbers this fall, some are doing more than just installing glass dividers and touchless technology at TSA checkpoints. Denver International Airport recently began using an optional reservations system for airport security called check, which provides limited 15-minute screening slots at a separate screening area. It also ensures participating passengers access to limited-capacity trains to their airport terminals. The company that created the program for Denver International has received interest from other airports.
The TSA notched 10-year-low screening totals in April, at under 100,000 passengers daily. The lowest daily passenger volume this year was 87,534 passengers screened on April 14 — a 97 percent drop from the same day in 2019.