TSA breaks daily record for number of passengers screened

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If you boarded a flight at a U.S. airport on Sunday, you helped to make history, the Transportation Security Administration announced Monday.

The agency said on X, formerly Twitter, that it screened more than 2.9 million passengers on Sunday, the most in the history of the federal agency. That number was 10 percent more than the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year, when it screened about 2.6 million people, and up 25 percent from 2019, when it screened more than 2.3 million.

TSA Administrator David Pekoske thanked the agency’s employees for their work.

“My sincere appreciation to our @TSA employees who worked diligently during the Thanksgiving weekend,” Pekoske wrote on X, adding, “Thank you for always being vigilant & focused on our mission.”

Despite recent signs of slowing demand for air travel, eight of the 10 busiest screening days in TSA history have come in 2023. Before Sunday, the busiest day in TSA history was June 30, when nearly 2.9 million passengers were screened.

Despite the crowds and some weather issues, travelers enjoyed a relatively smooth Thanksgiving travel period. According to the flight-tracking website FlightAware, U.S.-based carriers canceled 201 flights, or 0.2 percent, scheduled between Wednesday and Sunday. However, 16.2 percent of flights were delayed, by an average of 42 minutes.

American Airlines said Sunday was its busiest day of the Thanksgiving travel period, with more than 6,100 departures. It noted that as of Sunday, it had canceled fewer flights than in any other Thanksgiving period in its history. That performance came despite snowy weather in Chicago, where the airline has a hub at O’Hare International.

Southwest Airlines said it operated more than 20,000 flights between Wednesday and Sunday, carrying more than 2.6 million passengers.

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