Holiday air travel tops pre-pandemic levels for the 1st time

September 6, 2022 GMT
Travelers queue up at the south security checkpoint in Denver International Airport as the Labor Day holiday approaches Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Travelers queue up at the south security checkpoint in Denver International Airport as the Labor Day holiday approaches Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Travelers queue up at the south security checkpoint in Denver International Airport as the Labor Day holiday approaches Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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Travelers queue up at the south security checkpoint in Denver International Airport as the Labor Day holiday approaches Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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Travelers queue up at the south security checkpoint in Denver International Airport as the Labor Day holiday approaches Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

For the first time since COVID-19 brought air travel to a standstill, the number of people streaming through U.S. airport-security checkpoints over a holiday weekend exceeded pre-pandemic levels.

The summer travel season ended on a busy note as more than 8.7 million people passed through security in the last four days, topping the Labor Day weekend of 2019.

That is a first for a holiday weekend, the Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday.

The busiest day was Friday, when TSA screened 2.48 million travelers.

After a problem-plagued start to the summer, travelers encountered relatively few disruptions.

Airlines canceled about 640 U.S. flights between Friday and Monday, 0.6% of the total, according to tracking service FlightAware. That’s less than one-third the cancellation rate between June 1 and Labor Day. Delays were down too.

TSA said screeners found 67 guns in passenger bags between Friday and Monday – very close to the average of 17.3 per day this year. The agency said if that rate continues, 2022 will break last year’s record of 5,972 guns discovered at checkpoints.