In some good news, U.S. travel figures continue to rise, with 984,234 passengers passing through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening on October 11, 2020.
Since the pandemic, the TSA set up a web page to track and compare travel figures from 2019 and 2020. As numbers continue to rise (slowly), this sets a new record since March 16, 2020 when travel would have started dropping off significantly due to travel restrictions being imposed across the globe. Also noteworthy is the fact that over 900,000 passengers traveled on the 8th, 9th and 11th.
Going back to April 14, 2020, the picture was completely different as the agency saw some of the lowest numbers passing through U.S. airports, with a mere 87,534 passengers traveling on that day.
From the above graph, it’s clear that there is still a long way to go. While yesterday’s figure is definitely something to cheer above, travel capacity was only 38% of that when compared to the same day one year ago with 2,555,333 people passing through a TSA checkpoint. What is most interesting is that while travel would have declined as the summer period came to a close in 2019, travel in 2020 managed to remain at sustained levels throughout July into August and continued growing since then into October.
With the winter season coming up, combined with eased restrictions in the Caribbean and Latin America, it is possible that airlines may see a slight uptick in travel as we head closer to December into January. It’s hard to tell how consumers will feel about travel at this point as Coronavirus has been around for almost a year. On one hand, people are still panicked given how devastating the virus could be for those who suffered more serious symptoms, but on the other hand, many have started to learn to live with it, balancing safety and trying to get back to a somewhat normal life.
As numbers have been on the rise again, the real influencing factors could come down to what new restrictions individual states impose. Also, airlines and other travel partners (such as hospitality groups and tourism boards) will have to work extra hard to build and sustain confidence in travel for the near future until scientists can provide a real solution to the virus.
[Featured Photo: Bradley Wint/Gate Checked]