3 million airline passengers screened for first time on Sunday

(The Hill) - More than 3 million travelers were screened at airports across the country Sunday, marking the highest number ever for one day, the Transportation Security Authority (TSA) announced.

TSA agents screened 3,013,413 people Sunday in a post-Fourth of July travel blitz, surpassing the all-time high on June 23, when about 2.99 million people were screened, the agency said Monday.

"It was an extraordinary achievement: TSA fully, unerringly, and efficiently checked 35 passengers every second, along with all their luggage and carry-on baggage, while demonstrating unwavering professionalism and respect for travelers during the intensely busy holiday weekend," Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.

The heavy travel was widely expected around the Fourth of July holiday, and eight of the 10 busiest days in TSA's history have been this year as travel surges above prepandemic levels, The Associated Press reported.

The record falls in line with the travel forecast from AAA, which projected a record number of Americans traveling for the holiday. AAA predicted that 70.9 million people would travel 50 miles or more the week of July 4. The company has not yet released final numbers for the week.

As travel increases following the ebbing of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are still facing inflated travel costs, though airline ticket and hotel prices have significantly cooled from a year ago. Hotel rooms were 1.2 percent cheaper in May than a year ago, the AP reported, citing government inflation data.

As more Americans are hopping on planes, complaints have also increased. The Transportation Department said last Friday that it received nearly 97,000 complaints in 2023, up from about 86,000 the year before. This was the highest number since 2020, when complaints increased after airlines were slow to give customer refunds when the pandemic shut down air travel.

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