Holiday Air Travel Tops Prepandemic Levels for the First Time

While passenger volume was up, cancellations and delays were significantly down from the summer average.

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Photo Credit: engel.ac for Adobe Stock

For the first time since Covid-19 brought air travel to a standstill in the spring of 2020, the number of people streaming through U.S. airport-security checkpoints over a holiday weekend exceeded prepandemic levels.

The summer travel season ended on a busy note this week. More than 8.7 million people passed through security between Friday and Monday, topping the Labor Day weekend of 2019.

That is a first for a holiday weekend since early 2020, the Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday.

The busiest travel day of the weekend was Friday, Sept. 2, when the TSA screened 2.48 million travelers.

After a problem-plagued start to the summer, travelers encountered relatively few disruptions as the season wrapped up. Airlines cancelled about 640 U.S. flights between Friday and Monday, 0.6 percent of the total, according to tracking service FlightAware. That's less than one-third of the cancellation rate between June 1 and Labor Day. Delays were down too.

The TSA said screeners found 67 guns in passenger bags between Friday and Monday – very close to the average of 17.3 per day this year. The agency said if that current rate continues, 2022 will break last year's record of 5,972 guns discovered at checkpoints.