Holiday Weekend Air Travel Tops Pre-Pandemic Levels

May 30, 2023

Memorial Day weekend air travel exceeded 2019 pre-Covid pandemic levels, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said Tuesday.

According to the TSA, 9.8 million passengers were screened and passed through security checks during the four-day weekend that traditionally marks the start start of the summer travel season. That number was a roughly 300,000 passenger increase over 2019, the last summer before Covid struck. 

Even so, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) noted that airlines and flight tracking websites reported smooth travel, including significant improvements over their 2022 performance and cancellation rates far below recent years.

American Airlines, which is the world’s largest airline, said on Sunday it canceled only 13 regional flights, or 0.2% of total scheduled departures, after four consecutive days of American not canceling any flights. 

On Thursday, the first travel day, the FAA recorded 54,684 flights, the most in one day since before Covid.

The news comes as a new Bankrate survey finds that 63% of Americans plan to travel this summer, up a tick from last year, and airlines have been warning of another season of flight disruptions.

The same Bankrate survey found that 26% of summer travelers plan to drive rather than fly this year, up from 16% last year as average gas prices have decreased nearly a dollar a gallon over 2022 levels, though AAA says they have been creeping higher. 

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