A busy 4th of July pushed US daily travel past another important ceiling on its way towards recovery. A busy 4th of July weekend saw the TSA screen more than 750k travelers and set a new post-COVID record for daily travelers.
The TSA has been recording daily passenger screening counts which have served to mark the rapid and steep descent of travel in the industry as well as record its slow, steady climb back. Over a busy 4th of July weekend travel climbed to a new high on 7/2 with 764,761 passengers being screened by the TSA.
The previous high had been Sunday, June 28th which saw 633,810 daily passengers.
Since the April lows which saw daily travelers fall to an unprecedented 87,534 passengers – a 96% drop from the same day last year – travel has been clawing its way back, largely on the back of a combination of factors:
- The curve has flattened
- Travel is safer now (e.g. face masks are now required, temperature’s are being taken, planes cleaned deeper, hotels employ special measures, etc
- Companies are starting to slowly (very slowly) let employees back out
- Summer is here and leisure travel is pulling some folks into the airport
- People tired of being at home
Anecdotally, I ventured out this weekend on a road trip to the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in California and observed hotels with no vacancy, pricey overnight rates, and rental car shortages. All good indicators that folks are starting to get out – even if doesn’t include air travel. You can read my 9 observations about my first trip since March here.
What does the future hold?
This upward trend looks promising as more and more travelers hit the air, yet we are still no where close to pre-pandemic levels. Despite crossing the half million mark, travel is still down 60%-70%-ish from normal levels.
We asked our readers when they predicted travel would cross the 1 million daily mark. The graph below depicts the current results (prior to 4th of July) and you can see that more than 30% thought we’d get there by the 4th of July, suggesting a high degree of optimism.
Despite the marked progress, travel is still significantly off normal levels representing a devastating loss of revenue for the travel industry. The chart below overlays this year’s travel versus last year, same day, and the contrast is striking.
Still, movement is occurring. Travelers are returning. This is good thing.
How about you? Ready to travel again?
How about you? Did you travel this 4th of July Weekend? Leave us a comment below about what you saw and experienced.
Or, have you booked your first trip since the travel slowdown? What are you looking forward to? Drop us a comment – we’d love to hear about it.
Stay safe, traveler and let’s all cross our fingers for a speedy return of the once robust travel industry.
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