On Thursday, U.S. Air Passenger Numbers Were So High They SURPASSED 2019 Levels

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which screens passengers at airport checkpoints in the United States, broke another pandemic record Thursday. It revealed that it had checked more passengers on July 1st than on the same day in 2019. As Independence Day weekend approaches, the TSA stated it expects more record-breaking numbers to be at American airports.TSA airport screenings saw 2.14 million passengers pass through their doors on Thursday. This is almost 3 percent more than the 2.08million passengers who were checked on July 1.Pat Stornebrink/ Shutterstock.comAccording to the TSA, many airports are now regularly exceeding pre-pandemic passenger levels. The busiest airports are those that serve popular summer destinations. As leisure travelers continue to drive travel demand, Nashville and Myrtle Beach have outstripped 2019 passenger numbers.Other airports like Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Phoenix Sky Harbor are fast approaching pre-pandemic levels. They could easily surpass 2019 passenger volumes.It is heartening to see our country take to travel again and traveling to enjoy the weekend, said David Pekoske, TSA Administrator on Thursday.The dramatic increase in passenger numbers is creating a problem. TSA has advised passengers to arrive early to avoid long lines to clear security. Pekoske issued a warning on Thursday:Passenger are reminded to be patient and calm at all times during security screenings and onboard flights. TSA will not tolerate aggressive behavior towards our officers. Please help us make traveling safe, secure, and enjoyable this holiday weekend.In an effort to avoid major problems, the agency has gone on a hiring spree and offered $1,000 welcome bonuses to help fill the gap of up to 2,500 officers. Even though they are not allowed to search passengers, managers and office staff have been brought in to assist on the frontlines.TSA is not the only one that is struggling with staffing issues. Airlines also face staff shortages. American Airlines cut its schedule by 1% until mid-July due to a shortage of staff. Southwest Airlines and jetBlue offered double pay and other perks for staff who would like to work additional shifts in the coming weeks.