On Sunday, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) hit another post-pandemic milestone, screening 2.56 million air travelers, the highest number for any single day since 2019.
The number is a 4.5% increase over 2021’s 2.45 million number and a 117% increase over 2020’s 1.17 million number, further proof of the travel industry’s post-pandemic recovery. However, despite the milestone, the industry still has not reached the 2.88 million figure that it recorded on the same day in 2019.
Data also shows that passengers are continuing to hit the road despite inflated travel prices. According to the latest sales data from the Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) from October, the average ticket price for a round-trip ticket is $578, up from $475 in October 2021 and $335 in January 2022.
The average airfare for all tickets was more expensive, according to travel technology company Hopper. Hopper said that depleted airline schedules, rising jet fuel prices, and remaining pent-up demand drove prices up to their highest in the last five years.
Still, the TSA numbers and words from airlines have all echoed the sentiment that passengers are ready and willing to pay for travel.
United Airlines said there is no slowdown in consumer travel intent despite high airfares. The carrier, which spoke as part of the company’s third-quarter earnings call last month, said that it expects “fourth quarter adjusted operating margin to be above 2019 for the first time,” another marker in the continued recovery of the travel industry.
According to United, there are three trends that will continue to drive air travel demand despite those economic headwinds—air travel is still very much in the recovery phase and has not reached its peak, hybrid work continues to give consumers more opportunities to travel for leisure, and supply challenges will continue to limit the industry’s supply “for years to come.”