Another holiday, another travel surge: TSA screens more than 1 million passengers ahead of long Presidents Day weekend

Travelers got an early start to the long Presidents Day holiday weekend, with more than 1 million passengers screened at the nation’s airports on Thursday.

It was the first time since Jan. 4 that passenger counts topped 1 million.

The Transportation Security Administration said it screened 1,034,514 travelers. That’s still down 57% from the same weekday a year ago as the coronavirus pandemic drags on.

The pandemic passenger record is 1,327,289 passengers, set on Jan. 3 as Christmas and New Year’s vacationers headed home. The holiday season was busier than expected, with passenger counts topping 1 million on 12 days beginning the Saturday before Christmas.

The spike in travelers comes despite continued advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to avoid travel.

“First and foremost, I would really encourage people to not travel,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a White House briefing on Monday. 

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