Initial Memorial Day Numbers Are In– Here’s Why This Is Good For Airlines

The TSA has released its numbers for passenger screenings from Thursday and Friday. In the lead-up to the long weekend in the United States, more people started flying. On Thursday, May 21st, the TSA recorded over 300,000 passengers screened– the highest number of screenings in one day since March.

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US airlines saw an uptick in passengers in the lead up to Memorial Day. Photo: Daniel Martínez Garbuno/Simple Flying

The numbers look good for airlines

On Wednesday, the TSA screened 230,367 people. Then, on Thursday, this went up to 318,449. On Friday, the TSA recorded 348,673 passengers entering screening checkpoints around the country. This is excellent news for airlines and represents the sixth straight weekend of passenger growth.

Memorial Day is a popular time for domestic travel thanks to the Monday holiday. Although numbers are way down from last year, this is still a good sign for airlines since it shows some rebound in leisure travel. Normally, airlines handle a combined total of ten times the current numbers per day leading up to the weekend.

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The TSA has recorded an uptick in passengers since the end of April. Photo: Getty Images

For the rest of the weekend, Saturday numbers will probably be slightly lower, while Monday and Tuesday will see larger numbers of people heading home after the weekend. By Wednesday, however, the Memorial Day traffic should die down, giving a clearer picture of how this weekend went for airlines.

Cautious optimism

While the numbers show a sharp uptick, airlines should be far from rejoicing. For one, the next holiday weekend is in July. However, with schools and universities ending academic seasons through the next month, more people will have time to go on vacation. The summer season, although, is looking far less busy this year than last.

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Packed security lines may not be a sight this summer. Photo: Getty Images

Most airlines in the US are cautiously adding additional international flights and capacity on domestic legs. However, some countries and localities still have substantial quarantine requirements or entry restrictions for international passengers.

While there are likely some people using these flights for repatriation, there is not enough demand to sustain most of those operations.

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Most airlines have still cut capacity in the double digits. Photo: Getty Images

A modified travel experience

If you do plan on traveling next month, it is best to be prepared. First off, airline schedules remain fluid, and your flight may be canceled. If an airline cuts your flight, you are entitled to a refund. Second, some local attractions may remain closed through next month.

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Masks and shields are starting to become a common sight at airports. Photo: Getty Images

Airlines are adding mask requirements for travelers. While some are introducing complimentary masks and hygiene packs, it is best to be prepared and travel with one yourself. Plenty of airports are also now requiring people to wear masks while on the ground.

If you have to travel, plan ahead for food. Most airlines have pared back inflight service, and some food options at airports may be closed. TSA screeners are also taking additional precautions by wearing masks and limiting physical interactions with passengers’ items. Onboard, some airlines are blocking middle seats; however, you could still find yourself on a pretty full flight– especially if passenger travel numbers continue to increase.

Did you travel this Memorial Day weekend? What was the experience like? Let us know in the comments!