The Transporation Security Administration (TSA) has just broken a pandemic record for the number of passengers screened at airport security checkpoints across the United States in a single day, the federal agency announced on Monday.
On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the TSA said it had screened more than 2.56 million passengers, surpassing the number of passengers screened on the same day last year by nearly 110,000.
The number of passengers who passed through U.S. airports on Sunday was also more than 117 percent higher than in 2020, although still down by around 322,000 on how many passengers the TSA screened on the same day in 2019.
Airlines had anticipated that Sunday would be the busiest of the Thanksgiving holidays, although after a pretty uneventful lead-up to the getaway, a winter storm delayed thousands of flights and cancelled more than a hundred on Sunday.
According to data from Flightaware, more than 7,000 flights were delayed on Sunday, while at least 171 flights were cancelled.
Although the disruption makes up just a tiny proportion of all the flights operated on Sunday, some of the delays did roll into Monday – partly down to continuing bad weather, as well as planes and aircrew who were out of position.
US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg took to Twitter to praise the TSA and the entire aviation industry, saying the “system did well”, although bad weather “led to an elevated but not extreme level of delays (5.3%) & overall cancellation rates held below 1.0%.”
“Thanks again to America’s aviation workers for all that you do,” Buttigieg continued.
The TSA has largely outperformed its international peers, avoiding the staff shortages that have plagued airports in the UK, Europe and Australia over the Summer. The agency has, however, come under fire in recent weeks after a couple of high-profile incidents in which passengers have managed to smuggle dangerous weapons aboard U.S. flights.
In one incident, a passenger allegedly threatened flight attendants on a Frontier flight with a box cutter, while in another worrying incident, a man is alleged to have held a cut-throat razor up against another passenger’s neck which he managed to sneak past TSA agents.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.