Move Over Memorial Day: June 6th Breaks Pandemic-Era Record

Any worries about whether Americans would come back to the skies have now been mostly squashed. As the world opens up, Americans get their shots, and the summer holiday season rolls around, passenger numbers are going up. A case in point includes June 6th, which set a pandemic-era record and beat out Memorial Day. The non-holiday travel number spells great news ahead for US airlines and is indicative of the continued strength of summer leisure travel this season.

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US passengers are taking to the skies again, and airlines are launching new routes to cater to passengers. Photo: Getty Images

June 6th sets a pandemic-era record

Nowadays, pandemic-era records are being set a little more frequently as the airline recovery continues. On Sunday, June 6th, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recorded 1,984,658 passengers passing through a security checkpoint. This beat the previous record of 1,959,593 passengers set just over a week before.

Even though it was only about 25,000 more passengers, the date of the passenger numbers is one to be noted. Sunday, June 6th, did not fall along a holiday weekend. This makes the record all the more telling and important.

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Passengers should be prepared for long lines this summer. Photo: Getty Images

Americans want to travel this summer

June 6th was just an inch away, so to speak, from the two million passengers in a day mark. While it was still only about 74% of the 2.67 million passengers the TSA saw on the same weekday in 2019, the first Sunday in June is setting an optimistic tone for the rest of the summer.

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of the summer season in the United States. However, Memorial Day is not typically the busiest day in American aviation. Generally, a date in late July takes that spot.

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The bulk of travelers flying are leisure passengers. Photo: Getty Images

Late July does not have any federal holidays in the United States, but it is the middle of the summer season. July is the one month when nearly all schools in the United States are closed, and warm weather across the country leads leisure travelers to pack their bags and head out on vacation. Without needing to worry about kids missing classes or needing to get caught up on homework, families are more willing to take that trip to Disneyland.

The US will hit two million travelers in a day this summer

It seems almost inevitable, but the United States is very likely to hit two million passengers in a day this summer. Based on current trends, it will probably be several weekend days and perhaps become consistent around the weekends in July and August.

Along with the structural factor of Americans heading out on vacation with schools out, more destinations are also starting to open up. Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, Denmark, Iceland, and Greece have already opened up (or are expected to open up in the next few days) for Americans. Joining this list later this summer is Ireland in July. The United Kingdom may also open up this summer, though it would be wise not to place any bets on the UK.

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There will be an uptick in international travel as more destinations open up. Photo: Getty Images

All in all, with more destinations opening up for Americans and the summer holiday season continuing to dawn, airlines are in for a much better summer 2021 than 2019. According to most major airlines, leisure travel bookings are coming back, and yields are starting to exceed 2019-levels.

Coupled with continuing reopenings across the United States and the potential for Hawaii to welcome even more passengers with fewer restrictions later this summer, the factors are conspiring to get the US to over two million passengers in a day. All eyes will point to the remaining Fridays and Sundays in June and the 4th of July holiday.

Are you planning summer travel in the US? Let us know in the comments!

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