For the first time in the travel recovery, the number of passengers screened takes a step backwards as US travel slows once again. The total number of weekly passengers screened declined for the first time since the low point of the travel crisis.
The Transportation Security Administration has been publishing daily passengers screened since the COVID-19 pandemic began. These counts show the number of passengers screened by a TSA checkpoint in the United States as as well as a comparison to the prior year same day.
The data has been especially helpful in charting the travel industry’s recovery. In fact, each and every week since daily travel reached all time lows travel counts have risen. However, for the first time in the now 13 week recovery the passengers screened have taken a step backwards.
Indeed, the weekly totals and daily average for the week fell in 13th, an ominous indicator in the face of a radical increase in COVID-19 cases. The charts below show the weekly totals and daily average for the week. As noted, the total passengers screened for the 13th week dropped to 4.655 million, down from 4.838 million the week prior. This is the first time this number has fallen since the low point of the travel crisis.
- Week 0 = Sunday 4/12 – Saturday 4/18
- Week 13 = Sunday 7/12 – Saturday 7/18
Additionally, the weekly average of daily passengers screened fell to 665k from 691k. This is the first time this average has fallen since the low point of the travel crisis.
With COVID-19 cases on the rise across the United States it appears travel has been impacted once again as US travelers appear to have pulled back a bit.
It’s now been 17 days since the last highest reported travel figure from the TSA which was 764k on July 2. This marks the longest amount of days elapsed between a new high since the TSA started reporting the information. Previously, while there were some wild swings a new “high” would be hit every few days or so. Is this pull back a minor bump on the long road to recovery or indicative of something more sinister?
Many predicted daily travel would sneak back over the 1 million mark as soon as August, including our friends over at Family Flies Free:
While others predicted it might take until at least the Labor Day weekend to hit the mark.
With major airlines reporting a slowing in future booking it appears the pessimists may win this argument.