Thanksgiving holiday marks historic numbers for TSA

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National Press Release
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Security Administration experienced the busiest Thanksgiving travel weeks in its 17-year history after a record breaking summer with more than 25.6 million passengers and crew members screened during the holiday travel period – a six percent increase over last year. On Sunday, November 25, more than 2.7 million travelers passed through TSA screening and making it the busiest travel day in TSA’s history.

“It was all hands on deck during the Thanksgiving holiday week. Close coordination with airline and airport partners, new technology, enhanced screening and more travelers enrolled in TSA Pre✓®, TSA used every tool to secure air travel for the millions of passengers traveling to their holiday destinations,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “I thank our entire TSA team and industry partners for their work and attention to detail during a very hectic time, ensuring safe and secure travel for all passengers.”

Even though the volume of individuals screened was remarkably high, nationwide 95 percent of all passengers waited less than 20 minutes in a checkpoint line and 99 percent of passengers who were in a TSA Pre✓® lane waited less than 10 minutes in a security checkpoint line.

From Friday, Nov. 16, through Monday, Nov. 26, TSA screened 25,652,287 passengers and crew at airport checkpoints nationwide. More than 15 million checked bags were screened during the same time period. Typically, an average travel day would see TSA screen approximately 2.1 million passengers and crew, but in the busiest days of the Thanksgiving travel week, TSA screened more than a half million more passengers per day than usual. TSA has handled nearly four percent annual passenger growth over the last few years.

TSA’s top 10 list of busiest days of travelers screened

Rank Date Passengers + Crew Screened Circumstances
1 Nov. 25, 2018 2,729,770 Sunday after Thanksgiving
2 Nov. 28, 2004 2,713,864 Sunday after Thanksgiving
3 July 20, 2018 2,676,487 Summer Friday
4 June 29, 2018 2,676,198 Friday before Fourth of July week
5 July 26, 2018 2,672,136 Summer Friday
6 June 22, 2018 2,668,474 Summer Thursday
7 July 8, 2018 2,658,707 Sunday after Fourth of July week
8 Nov. 19, 2004 2,652,347 Friday of the week before Thanksgiving
9 July 27, 2018 2,649,067 Summer Friday
10 June 30, 2017 2,647,852 Friday of Fourth of July week