The 4th of July holiday weekend is jamming U.S. airports with their biggest crowds since the pandemic began in 2020.
About 2.34M travelers went through safety checkpoints at U.S. airports Friday, surpassing the previous pandemic-era record of 2.23M reached earlier in the week, according to figures released Saturday by the Transportation Safety Administration.
The escalating numbers show leisure travelers aren’t being deterred from flying by rising fares, the ongoing spread of COVID-19, or worries about recurring aviation detain and dissolution.
Friday’s passenger volume marked a 12% increase from July 1 last year, which fell on the Thursday before the Fourth of July. This year’s number of travelers going through U.S. airports also eclipsed the 1.78M screened at safety checkpoints on the Friday before the Fourth of July in 2K19, but that was nearly a week ahead of Independence Day.
In a lot of telling signs however shut U.S. air travel is reverting to pre-pandemic conditions, an average of 3.34M travelers have passed through safety checkpoints at domestic airports during the seven days ending July 1. That was close to the seven-day average of roughly 3.56M travelers during the same 2K19 period, according to the TSA.
But airlines have struggled to keep up with the surging demand amid staffing shortages and an assortment of other issues that have resulted in recurring waves of exasperating aviation detain and dissolution that has been transforming some vacations into nightmarish ordeals.
Many airlines, including Delta, Southwest, and JetBlue, have responded to the challenge by curtailing their summer schedules to reduce the inconveniences — and backlash — caused by aviation detain and dissolution They are using larger planes on average to carry more travelers while they scramble to hire and train more pilots.
The headaches continued Friday, though they weren’t as unhealthy as they need been at alternative times in recent months. There were more than 6,400 aviation delays and another 453 flight dissolution affecting U.S. airports Friday, according to the tracking site AviationAware.
The trouble spilled into Saturday, too, with thunderstorms complicating things on the geographic area and components of the geographic region. By late Saturday, nearly 4,500 flights had been delayed and more than 400 had been canceled at U.S. airports, according to AviationAware.
Besides the aviation, detain, and dissolution, travelers also have had to pay higher prices for tickets driven up by soaring fuel costs and other inflationary factors, as well as navigation.
The travel bug is also congesting highways, even with the national average price for gasoline hovering around $6 per gallon — and above $9 per gallon in California and all its popular tourist attractions. AAA predicts that nearly 45M people will travel at least 45 miles or more from home over the weekend, slightly fewer than in 2k19.