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AAA Projects 3.5 Million Flyers for Independence Day

The second travel holiday in the year after the COVID-19 pandemic began could see up to 3.5 million flyers transiting through airports. AAA projects the Independence Day Holiday could see travel levels 90 percent of pre-pandemic numbers, and 164-percent more than 2020.

With travelers gaining more confidence in post-pandemic air travel, AAA is predicting 10 percent fewer travelers will be at the airport this holiday weekend compared to 2019. In a press release, the organization projected 3.5 million flyers traveling by air over the Independence Day weekend.

3.5 Million Projection Reflects 164-Percent Increase From 2020

When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States, flights were cancelled as travelers stayed safer at home. For the 2020 Independence Day holiday (July 1-5, 2020), AAA notes only 1.3 million passengers took to the skies, while the total number of flyers screened across the U.S. by the Transportation Security Administration was just over 3.3 million.

However, with travel coming back to life in a big way, the daily TSA turnstile leading up to the holiday weekend is between 1.7 million and 2.1 million. The 3.5 million travelers projected to travel between July 1-5, 2021 is an increase of 164 percent compared to 2020 – meaning screening stations could be stress tested by an influx of passengers.

“Travel is in full swing this summer, as Americans eagerly pursue travel opportunities they’ve deferred for the last year-and-a-half,” Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, said in a statement. “We saw strong demand for travel around Memorial Day and the kick-off of summer, and all indications now point to a busy Independence Day to follow.”

As for where travelers are going, the organization says theme park travel is making a comeback, after many of them were closed for nearly the entirety of 2020. The top five projected travel destinations are Orlando, Florida; Anaheim, California; Denver, Colorado; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Seattle, Washington.

TSA Reminds Flyers Masks are Still Required

With millions expected to head to the airport, the TSA is reminding flyers that the federal face mask mandate is still in effect for air travel, and face covering rules will be fully enforced. The agency is asking passengers to arrive extra early for flights in anticipation of crowds and make sure any prohibited items – including fireworks – are not accidentally packed in carry-on bags.