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Memorial Day weekend travel soars in air, on roads

TSA hits highest daily checkpoint volume since Thanksgiving 2019
Southwest airplane passes Spirit airplane at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, July 7, 2022
Posted at 3:51 PM, May 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-27 15:58:50-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Transportation Security Administration on Friday hit its highest checkpoint volume since Thanksgiving 2019 as millions travel in the air for the Memorial Day weekend.

And motorists hitting the road are higher than last year.

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND FORECAST

The agency tweeted early Saturday reported that 2,719,075 passengers were screened at airports nationwide Friday.

That is a slight increase from Thursday when the TSA reported screening more than 2.6 million passengers

On Dec. 1, 2019, more than 2.8 million travelers passed through TSA security checkpoints nationwide, the busiest day in the history of the agency's founding in 2001. More than 26 million passengers and crew members were screened during the holiday travel period from Nov. 22 to Dec. 2.

TSA Administrator David Pekoske said at a news conference this week that the agency expects to screen 10 million passengers over the Memorial Day period.

"We figure that we will see 2.6 million people on a regular basis across this holiday weekend," Pekoske said.

"From TSA’s perspective, we are ready. We have more staff on hand this year than last year which is a good thing because we have more passengers this year than we had last year."

About 10 million people are expected to travel through airports over the course of the holiday weekend, he said.

The agency this week announced an expansion of the PreCheck program to include teens traveling with their parents or guardians.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport's overflow parking lot is open due to peak parking demand this weekend as the short-term and long-term parking garages are closed until further notice, the airport posted on Twitter on Saturday.

Nearly 700,000 travelers are expected to travel through FLL on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, WTVJ reported.

Miami International Airport expects nearly 900,000 passengers this weekend.

AAA said 37 million people will be driving 50 miles or more from home, which is a 6% increase compared with 2022.

Gas prices are lower than a year ago.

According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of regular is $3.57, compared with $4.60 a year ago.

“This is expected to be the third busiest Memorial Day weekend since 2000, when AAA started tracking holiday travel,” said Paula Twidale, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel. “More Americans are planning trips and booking them earlier, despite inflation. This summer travel season could be one for the record books, especially at airports.”