The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on Monday announced that on Sunday, Aug. 16, more than 800,000 passengers traveled through TSA checkpoints, the second week in a row that the Sunday number exceeded that milestone.
According to the TSA, 862,949 total passengers traveled through checkpoints on Sunday, up from 831,789 the week before, and 799,861 the week before that.
While the number is still substantially less than the same time in 2019 (2.58 million passengers), it does represent another week of a steady increase in numbers and a more than 900% increase over some of the lows that the TSA experienced in April (87,534 passengers on April 14).
The numbers are increasing as U.S. passengers are still not allowed to travel to a lot of parts of the world due to international travel restrictions put in place because of the spread of COVID-19. Americans are still unable to travel to European Union countries (EU officials will reconsider admitting Americans on Aug. 20) and the U.S. border with Canada will remain closed until at least Sept. 21.
Passengers who are continuing to slowly return to airports are looking domestically—according to MMGY and TMR’s Travel Advisors COVID-19 Sentiment Barometer (Wave II), 42% of all traveler inquiries are about U.S. destinations (prior to COVID-19, domestic destinations made up only about 16% of inquiries).
New acrylic barriers at Charlotte Douglas International. Photo: TSA.
Those passengers are also being greeted by a different experience than pre-COVID-19. Most airlines have instituted strict face mask and social distancing policies onboard, with only a few major airlines, including American Airlines, deciding it was time to start booking flights at capacity again.
Aside from new TSA rules, which it highlighted in its “Stay Healthy Stay Secure” campaign, the TSA is also installing new acrylic barriers at checkpoints to help keep flyers and its staff safe.
This weekend, the TSA announced that it had completed the installation of the barriers at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) and, in total, the TSA expects to install the barriers, and other additional equipment, at 37 priority airports nationwide.