Despite CDC warnings, millions of people flew over the holidays
TSA screenings dropped by 500 million in 2020 from the previous year.
January 4, 2021, 9:11 PM
• 5 min read
Even with the uptick in travelers over the holidays, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) revealed Monday that it screened 500 million fewer passengers in 2020 compared to last year — a 60% drop.
“Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, the agency screened a total of approximately 324 million passengers throughout its airport security checkpoints,” TSA said in a news release. “That figure represents just 39 percent of the approximately 824 million total passengers screened in 2019.”
The total number of holiday fliers was still down around 40% compared to last year, but it greatly exceeded predictions. AAA had forecasted only 2.94 million would travel by air between Dec. 23 and Jan. 3.
On ABC’s “This Week,” Fauci said cold weather forcing people indoors paired with “the traveling associated with the holiday season is all of the ingredients that unfortunately make for a situation that is really terrible.”
“To have 300,000 cases in a given day and between 2,000 and 3,000 deaths per day is just terrible,” he said Sunday. “It’s something that we absolutely have got to grasp and get our arms around and turn that — turn that inflection down by very intensive adherence to the public health measures uniformly throughout the country with no exceptions.”
On Friday, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian told employees in an internal memo that Delta expects to achieve positive cash flow by the spring.
“The second phase will begin only when we reach a turning point with widely available vaccinations that spur a significant return to travel,” Bastian wrote, “particularly business travel.”
TSA said on Monday it “anticipates daily travel volumes will continue to rise steadily and follow seasonal patterns” but it “expects volume will remain well below pre-pandemic levels through most of 2021.”
ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos and Sam Sweeney contributed to this report.