More than 1 million people passed through U.S. airports on three consecutive days this weekend, according to the Transportation Security Administration, the first time the agency has recorded numbers like that since March.
On Friday, the TSA screened just under 1.066 passengers, followed by 1.073 on Saturday, and 1.065 on Sunday. This was far lower than this weekend last year when the agency saw over 2 million passengers each day, but it showed Americans are hitting the skies before the Christmas holiday, despite advice from experts to hunker down.
The agency last screened more than 1 million passengers on Nov. 29, the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
Americans are heading out of town for the holidays despite experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci and government leaders warning them not to as COVID-19 continues to spread in the U.S., reaching record levels over the last few weeks. In fact, more than 194,900 cases were reported nationwide on Sunday, a 9.2% increase over the past seven days, according to The COVID Tracking Project.
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Several states have also implemented travel restrictions, which vary from testing requirements to mandatory 14-day quarantines. Additionally, California has implemented strict stay-at-home orders, prohibiting private gatherings.
For Americans who do decide to fly during the holidays, the TSA has recommended they bring pandemic-era essentials, including masks, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizer (travelers can pack up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer, which they have to remove from their luggage during screening).
However, there are plenty of ways to experience the magic of the holiday season without leaving home. People can track Santa’s progress online while curling up in front of a virtual fire. Tune in to the New York City Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker, or “shop” to your heart’s content at Europe’s best Christmas markets from the comfort of your own home.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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