TSA reports uptick in air travel leading into Memorial Day weekend

Logan Airport was eerily quiet this holiday weekend with empty terminals and flight information boards cleared from the lack of flights.

BOSTON — Logan Airport was eerily quiet this holiday weekend with empty terminals and flight information boards cleared from the lack of flights.

“This is the first year in 12 years that I’m not doing our traditional Memorial Day forecast,” said Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast spokesperson.

Maguire said it’s no surprise that there’s a record-low in travel this Memorial Day weekend because of COVID-19, but the TSA said it’s expecting more people will start flying again this summer.

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In just the last couple of days leading into the holiday weekend, the TSA saw an uptick in air travel for the first time since the pandemic hit the U.S. On Friday, nearly 350,000 people traveled by plane, compared to just over 87,000 travelers in mid-April.

That jump is still low compared to the nearly 3 million travelers this time last year.

“Well I think certainly people will be traveling more because of the fact that all 50 states are opened up, restrictions are being loosened in all 50 states, so certainly we’re going to see people more mobile, more on the move,” Maguire said.

The TSA is rolling out several changes over the next few weeks as air travel slowly increases. Some of those new guidelines include wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing while passing through security, and holding your boarding pass up to a TSA agent instead of handing it to them.

Because of COVID-19, the TSA also said they’ll now allow each passenger to bring up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer in a carry-on, but all other liquids and gels will have the usual restrictions.

“I do think the mantra will be ‘stay in the car, don’t go far,’” Maguire said.

Maguire added that even though air travel will remain low, people will still vacation, just closer to home. She says 68% of AAA members say they plan to take a road trip this summer.

“I think people are looking at the safety and security of their vehicles and looking at that as a viable alternative to getting out, getting away a bit and getting a change of scenery,” Maguire said. “That’s a positive development as long as everyone takes the necessary steps to stay safe.”

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