Air Travel Rebound Has Stalled in Recent Weeks
When lock-down orders and travel restrictions went in effect around the country, and the world, air travel plunged 96%. On March 1st around 2.3 million people people passed through TSA checkpoints, including workers and crew members. Then on April 14th that number was down 87,534 people, while the coronavirus started spreading around the world. That was the slowest day for air travel in decades and an incredible drop of 96.2% from the same day the previous year.
But air travel numbers have been increasing since then. The highest number of travelers passing through airport screening hit 862,949 on August 16th. and then 348,673 Friday. That’s close to 10 times higher than the lowest point back in mid April. While that’s an encouraging numbers, it is still far from last year’s numbers when 2,584,444 passengers passed through TSA checkpoints.
Additionally, looking at the curve, the rebound in air travel has cooled off in recent weeks. In May and June we saw continuous increase in travel demand, but since early July, the demand has stayed nearly flat. You can look at the numbers here.
Airlines Mandate Face Masks
Travel nowadays differs from what you have been used to. Most airlines now require you to wear face coverings. JetBlue was the first to announce mandatory masks for both crew and passengers, and all the major carriers soon followed. You can read requirements for most airlines here. Airlines have said they will provide masks to those who do not have one in most cases. Some airports, like San Francisco, also require masks in the terminals. Frontier Airlines is going even further. They are the first airline to announce that they will implement temperature screening before boarding. Those requirement shave become even more strict recently as waivers are no longer permitted for anyone over 2 years old.
New TSA Screening Procedures
The Transportation Security Administration is making changes to airport screening procedures to limit contact with passengers and agents as the peak summer season approaches in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Agents will not touch your boarding passes, foods need to be in a separate clear bag, you can bring bigger bottles of sanitizers onboard and more. Read about the changes here.