U.S. airline passengers continue to flood airports across the country over Memorial Day weekend – underscoring the regained confidence Americans have in hitting the skies.
On Saturday and Sunday combined, more than 3.2 million people were screened at airport checkpoints nationwide, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
On Friday, however, airports saw the most passengers — about 1.95 million — since the beginning of the pandemic when air travel was decimated due to global lockdown orders and travel restrictions meant to curb the spread of the virus.
Checkpoint volume had been largely suppressed during 2020 except around the holidays when airlines would see a temporary surge in travelers, even despite federal health officials pleading for Americans to stay home.
Now, airlines are getting a reprieve due to an increasing number of Americans getting inoculated, after suffering a year of hefty losses.
In fact, a surge in travel was expected for the three-day weekend, which also marks the unofficial start to summer.
Earlier this month, AAA had already predicted a "significant rebound" with more than 37 million people traveling at least 50 miles from home between May 27 and May 31.
According to AAA, this is an increase of 60% from this time last year.
"As more people get the COVID-19 vaccine and consumer confidence grows, Americans are demonstrating a strong desire to travel this Memorial Day," Paula Twidale, AAA Travel senior vice president, previously said.