In the weeks preceding the holidays, the travel industry was abuzz and wondering how many travelers would actually take to the sky, despite government pleas to stay home. Since the middle of December, TSA has processed one million passengers per day eleven times.
How many holiday travelers flew in 2019?
It’s hard to remember a time before travel restrictions, but 2019 broke holiday travel records with more than 115 million travelers from late December to early January. More travelers moved through airports in 2019 than in the past 20 years, with two to three million travelers daily. To put those numbers into perspective, April 2020 saw just 100,000 travelers per day on average. The years drastically low travel numbers made the industry wonder, what will the holidays look like in our major airports?
2020 brought a 30% decline in holiday travelers due to COVID travel concerns, but total numbers remained higher than anticipated as grounded travelers braved the sky to see their families after a year of isolation.
How many holiday travelers flew in 2020?
January 3rd was the busiest travel day seen in the pandemic, with 1.3 million travelers passing through TSA in a single day. This increase has been seen steadily since the fall, with TSA’s first million passenger travel day taking place in October. We’ve seen travel upticks here and there, namely around Memorial Day and Thanksgiving, but nothing compared to December’s holiday travel.
TSA’s year in review shows a total of 824 million passengers from January to December in 2019. In comparison, the 12 months of 2020 totaled just 324 million travelers, according to TSA. Travel hopes continue to rise with the arrival of a vaccine and the introduction of remote work programs, and it is unlikely that we will ever again see such a variance in these numbers, making 2020 an incredibly historic year for aviation.
Did you fly during the holidays? What were your experiences?