More than 1 million people traveled on planes in US on a single day ahead of Thanksgiving amid coronavirus pandemic

  • Travelers wearing protective face masks waiting to check their bags at Concourse D at the Miami International Airport on Sunday, November 22, 2020 in Miami, Florida. With the coronavirus surging out of control, the nation's top public health agency pleaded with Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving and not to spend the holiday with people from outside their household. (David Santiago/Miami Herald/TNS)

  • Travelers wearing protective face masks walking through Concourse D at the Miami International Airport on Sunday, November 22, 2020 in Miami, Florida. With the coronavirus surging out of control, the nation's top public health agency pleaded with Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving and not to spend the holiday with people from outside their household. (David Santiago/Miami Herald/TNS)

  • Travelers wearing protective face masks walking through Concourse D at the Miami International Airport on Sunday, November 22, 2020 in Miami, Florida. With the coronavirus surging out of control, the nation's top public health agency pleaded with Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving and not to spend the holiday with people from outside their household. (David Santiago/Miami Herald/TNS)

  • Travelers wearing protective face masks walking through Concourse D at the Miami International Airport on Sunday, November 22, 2020 in Miami, Florida. With the coronavirus surging out of control, the nation's top public health agency pleaded with Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving and not to spend the holiday with people from outside their household. (David Santiago/Miami Herald/TNS)

  • Travelers wearing protective face masks walking through Concourse D at the Miami International Airport on Sunday, November 22, 2020 in Miami, Florida. With the coronavirus surging out of control, the nation's top public health agency pleaded with Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving and not to spend the holiday with people from outside their household. (David Santiago/Miami Herald/TNS)

The turbulence caused by the coronavirus pandemic didn’t deter more than 1 million people in the United States from traveling aboard planes on a single day ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

A whopping 1,019,836 people went on U.S. flights on Friday, data released by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) shows.

ADVERTISING


That’s the second-highest number of single-day travelers since mid-March, when the outbreak of COVID-19 began to cause shutdowns throughout the U.S. and devastated the air-travel industry.

The only day since then that’s seen more people travel by plane than last Friday was Oct. 18, when 1,031,505 passengers boarded U.S. flights.

Friday’s number of passengers was down from the 2,550,459 people who flew on U.S. flights on the same day last year, highlighting the stark contrast that the pandemic has caused.

Still, the eye-opening total on Friday came days after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that “the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with.”

“People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households,” the CDC said in an advisory last week ahead of the holiday.

“In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk.”

The CDC named airports — along with bus stations, gas stations, rest stops and other means of public transportation — as areas where people can be exposed to the virus.

Although the number of passengers on U.S. flights declined slightly after Friday’s total, Saturday still saw 984,369 people board planes, according to the TSA. Last Thursday, the TSA recorded 907,332 air travelers.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority as of Sunday evening had not released data regarding travel via air to Hawaii.

However, on Thursday, 9,783 people came to the state with nearly 1,200 of those arriving via Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole. For comparison, on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2,148 people few to Hawaii. Just 247 arrived at Kona International Airport.

During the early weeks of the pandemic, the number of U.S. air travelers recorded by the TSA regularly hovered near or below 100,000 passengers. Those totals have increased considerably in the months since, despite the ongoing surges of coronavirus cases throughout the country.

ADVERTISING


The U.S. has recorded more confirmed cases of COVID-19 than any other country, with more than 12 million. It’s also suffered the most deaths of any country, with more than 255,000.

“Travel can increase the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19,” the CDC wrote in its Thanksgiving advisory. “Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiwarriorworld@staradvertiser.com.