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Sunday proved to be the busiest travel day in US airport history

For the first time ever, TSA screened more than 2.9 million passengers in a single day as volumes now exceed pre-pandemic levels.
Sunday proved to be the busiest travel day in US airport history
Posted at 11:45 AM, Nov 27, 2023

The Transportation Security Administration expected Thanksgiving weekend to be among the busiest travel periods in U.S. history, and it turns out they were right. 

Sunday marked the busiest travel day in the aviation industry in U.S. history with TSA screening more than 2.9 million passengers for the first time ever. The data also showed volumes were about 10% higher this year than in 2022. 

The data indicated that Thanksgiving weekend travel volume exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time. 

Besides Sunday, Wednesday was the busiest travel day of the holiday, with more than 2.7 million passengers. There were about 2.6 million passengers who traveled last Tuesday and Saturday. Thanksgiving had its usual dip in passengers, with 1.5 million passengers hopping on a commercial plane. 

Monday and Tuesday of this week could continue to have higher-than-usual traffic as Americans return to their normal routines after the holiday. 

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About 4.69 million Americans were expected to fly between Nov. 22 and 26, according to AAA. But far more Americans were expected to drive during the holiday weekend. AAA estimated over 49 million Americans would travel at least 50 miles during the weekend.

TSA's previous record came on June 30, 2023, when 2.88 million passengers were screened by the agency just before the July 4 holiday. Five of the busiest six travel days on record have come in 2023. 

Generally, Thanksgiving weekend is a more intense travel period than Christmas, which is more spread out. Although TSA has not released projections for this year's Christmas travel season, generally, the busiest travel days come a few days before Dec. 25. 

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