TSA screens 9.5 million during Thanksgiving travel, nearly half of 2019

FILE PHOTO. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
FILE PHOTO. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

The Transportation Security Administration screened about 9.5 million airline passengers during the Thanksgiving holiday, around 40% of number of passengers screened during the same period last year.

TSA screened more than 1 million passengers a day on four days during the holiday period, which goes from Nov. 20-29.

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Travel during the holiday was expected to be down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Mike DeWine and leaders across the Miami Valley and state urged Ohioans to stay home for Thanksgiving after cases and hospitalizations continued to spike over the last two months.

On Monday, Dr. Andy Thomas, chief medical officer for Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center asked anyone who traveled during the holiday to self-quarantine and avoid contact with others to decrease the risk of spreading the virus.

Airline travel has been recovering since TSA screenings dropped to a low of 87,500 passengers on April 14, about 4% of screenings from a year ago. Between Labor Day and Thanksgiving, travel volumes rose to 40% of recovery. The Thanksgiving holiday was the first time TSA screenings surpassed 1 million passengers since Oct. 18 during Columbus Day travel.

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To reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus, TSA worked to eliminate physical contact when possible, improve sanitization of equipment and surfaces and encouraging passengers to social distance while in line.

TSA also installed barriers at different points throughout checkout, technology allowing travelers to insert their own IDs for verification and new scanners that allow workers to rotate images of carry-on bags, reducing the need for workers to open and handle bags.

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