Almost 970,000 people in the US travelled through TSA checkpoints throughout the country on Friday, just ahead of the Labor Day weekend.
This is the highest figure reported in one day by the TSA since 16 March, and the beginning of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns.
“For travellers who have not flown since the beginning of the pandemic, the TSA checkpoint experience will be noticeably different as compared to Labor Day last year,” TSA administrator David Pekoske said.
“Passengers also play an important role in helping us ensure they safely and efficiently get through security screening at our airports while wearing masks and respecting social distancing.”
Some believe the spike in travellers over the holiday weekend may show some signs of recovery in the US domestic travel market.
However, the same day last year saw over 2.2 million people travel through TSA checkpoints.
On Saturday, TSA thoroughfare fell back down to 664,640, compared with 1.7 million the previous year.
Trends still see mid-week and non-holiday air travel as significantly down, with pre-COVID mid-week thoroughfare averaging between 500,000 and 600,000, compared with its usual 1.5 million plus per day.
While the holiday weekend uptick will be a welcome change for airlines, the spike in travellers throughout the US also brings concerns, as the country continues with its struggle to reduce its number of new COVID-19 cases.
Experts are gearing up to see new surges of COVID-19 cases in the most popular holiday destinations, including Florida, in the weeks following Labor Day.
“It’s very predictable,” ABC News contributor Dr John Brownstein, chief innovation officer for the Boston Children’s Hospital and a professor of epidemiology at Harvard Medical School, said.
“Major holidays, where people are moving — increases in mobility lead to transmission, and you see cases start to surge two weeks later.”
To date, over 6.3 million people in the US have been diagnosed with the virus, with figures still increasing between 40,000 and 60,000 per day.