WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The number of people traveling by airplane continues to increase as confidence grows that the U.S. is gaining ground in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Figures released Sunday by the Transportation Security Administration show that more passengers took flights Sunday than any day this year.
TSA checkpoint travel numbers revealed that 1,574,228 passengers were screened on Sunday. About 4.5 million people were screened at U.S. airports from Friday to Sunday.
That number is significantly higher than the 180,002 passengers screened on the same day in 2020 as the world continued to shutter and the pandemic took hold of the country.
JUST IN: Sundays continue to be the busiest days at @TSA checkpoints and yesterday was no exception. TSA screened 1,574,228 people yesterday, Sunday, March 28th. It was the busiest day in a little more than a year when 1,714,372 people were screened on March 12, 2020. Mask up!— Lisa Farbstein, TSA Spokesperson (@TSA_Northeast) March 29, 2021
Despite the increased travel, Sunday's numbers are still about 1.5 million fewer passengers that were screened on March 28, 2019.
Airlines are hoping that travel will continue to rebound with the summer travel season approaching and more Americans look to take vacations.
United Airlines announced last week they are restarting more than 20 domestic routes.
Fifteen percent of the total U.S. population has been fully vaccinated as of Monday, according to the CDC's COVID Data Tracker.
Palm Beach Int’l Airport the last week of March 2020 and then this afternoon. Air traffic is rising and South Florida is a popular destination once again. pic.twitter.com/HrCc9Sjck9— Matt Sczesny WPTV (@WPTVMatt) March 29, 2021
The terminal at Palm Beach International Airport was busy Monday with people flying in from across the U.S.
Travelers at PBIA pointed to good deals on airfares, vaccinations and South Florida weather leading them to decide to come here.
"This is actually the busiest I've seen it here, and the flight was packed," said Deanna Passalacqua of New Jersey, who arrived for a visit this week.
Among the arriving air travelers at PBIA were Donna and Michael Marder of Connecticut.
"We decided we had enough of the cold weather," Michael Marder said.
The couple said they will be looking to buy a house in St. Lucie County during their visit.
"We're always concerned, but since we had the vaccine, we felt safe traveling," Michael Marder said.
Optimism about tourism is something Glenn Jergensen with the Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council hasn't felt in a year.
Palm Beach County tourism officials said spring break travel has been higher than expected with hotels now around 70 percent occupied and tourism taxes on the upswing.
"We planned around between $4 to $5 million worth of collections. Normally they'd be around $6, $7, $8 [million] per month, but that's a good thing," Jergensen said.
Some travelers at PBIA on Monday said they are still concerned about COVID-19, but believe flying feels safer. Also, some said they were glad to come to Florida and not face the harsher restrictions in their state.
"It's been great to come to a state that is mindful of wearing masks and taking precautions to help mitigate it, but also allows us to still do life," said David Conrady of Nashville.
The CDC continues to advise against non-essential travel even if you have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.