TSA Notches New Record Low With 95% Fewer Passenger Screenings

On April 7th, the TSA notched a new record low number of passenger screenings in one day. Tuesday saw only 97,130 screenings compared to 2,091,056 exactly one year prior. This represents a decrease of over 95%.

Security airport staff
TSA screened fewer than 100,000 passengers on April 7th. Photo: Getty Images

Record low number of TSA screenings

The TSA routinely records the number of daily screenings. This helps give an indicator of how many people are traveling from American airports in a given day. On April 7th, the TSA only recorded 97,130 screenings down from 2,091,056 a year ago setting, once again, a new record. This includes personnel who work for airports and have to undergo passenger screenings.

Since mid-March, passenger numbers have been declining according to TSA numbers. although, it seemed to hover around 120,000 screenings before Tuesday’s decline.

TSA Notches New Record Low With 95% Fewer Passenger Screenings
The number of screened passengers has dropped significantly since March. Data: TSA/Graph: Simple Flying

Compared to last year’s data, the numbers are incredibly staggering. Most of the decline is a result of passengers.

2019 vs 2020
2019 vs 2020 data shows a staggering drop in passengers. Data: TSA/Graph: Simple Flying

Screening under 100,000 people across the entire United States is a massive decline in numbers. While airlines are cutting the number of flights and swapping out larger planes for smaller ones, it is still clear that those planes are not going out full amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Room for social distancing

Traveling by plane in 2019, for most people, was a relatively full flight in coach with not a lot of room to move people around. Now, with fewer passengers, this leaves more room for social distancing at the airport, in the gate area, and onboard aircraft.

Delta Main Cbain
With fewer people traveling, this opens some more options for social distancing. Photo: Jay Singh – Simple Flying

Airlines around the world are operating with new social distancing and cleaning procedures. Some recent moves include blocking middle seats or else giving gate agents and flight attendants more leeway to separate passengers.

Airport security
With fewer passengers, there is more room for social distancing. Photo: Getty Images

Other uses for airports

While airports are seeing fewer passengers, a number of them have more planes on the ground than before. Although, these planes aren’t flying. Rather, they are parked. Finding enough space to park hundreds of planes is no easy feat leading airports to shut down runways and take up apron space. For example, American Airlines is storing a number of planes including widebody 777s in Tulsa, Oklahoma. For avgeeks, this could be a sad sight to see so many planes parked on runways.

TSA Notches New Record Low With 95% Fewer Passenger Screenings
Parked American Airlines planes in Tulsa. Photo: American Airlines


People are not traveling amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The TSA numbers show that. More states and countries are issuing lockdown orders leaving travel only for essential purposes like flying in medical volunteers, or visiting ailing family members, or transporting vital cargo.

On Tuesday, April 7th, the TSA screened fewer than 100,000 passengers in one day. This was a new record low marking a decline of almost 95% compared to April 7, 2019.

Do you think passenger numbers will continue to drop? What do you make of these record low TSA screenings? Let us know in the comments!