TSA numbers show air travel is busiest its been since March

BOSTON — Labor Day weekend is traditionally a busy time for traveling. One major sign that travel may be starting to take off is that air travel was way up this long holiday weekend.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened more than 968,000 travelers on Friday -- the largest number since March 17. On Saturday and Sunday, they screened 664,640 and 689,630 travelers, respectively.

To put this weekend’s numbers in perspective, at the airlines’ lowest point during the pandemic on April 14, the TSA screened only 87,534 passengers.

However, Friday’s numbers are still down more than 50% compared to the nearly 2.2 million passengers who went through TSA checkpoints the same day one year ago.

The largest number of Labor Day travel bookings have been reservations to Florida, according to travel itinerary app TripIt.

Public health experts are concerned that the uptick in travel, especially in states that are hotspots for COVID-19, might translate to a surge in coronavirus cases.

The uptick comes as airlines begin to restore their routes. American Airlines, Delta and United all plan to resume as many as 15 long-haul international routes this month.

Summer is the busiest season for airlines, and with schools resuming and many employees not traveling for work yet, experts say it is likely these numbers will dip again in the fall.