Americans Hit the Road on Memorial Day Holiday, a Year After Pandemic Slammed Travel

People flock to the beach to enjoy the Memorial Day long weekend, in Santa Monica, California, U.S. May 30, 2021. REUTERS/David Swanson
People flock to the beach to enjoy the Memorial Day long weekend, in Santa Monica, California, U.S. May 30, 2021. REUTERS/David Swanson

With half the country at least partially protected against the coronavirus, Americans escaped their pandemic doldrums over the three-day holiday weekend that traditionally unleashes the country’s pent-up wanderlust at the doorstep of summer.

A year after Memorial Day weekend travel was depressed by fears of the spreading virus, Americans took to the skies and roads.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said 7.1 million people were screened at U.S. airport checkpoints from Thursday through Sunday. Friday was the highest single travel day since March 2020, when COVID-19 slashed air travel demand, as 1.96 million people were screened.

Last week, AAA forecast travel to jump by 60% for the Memorial Day holiday period, with 37 million people expected to travel 50 miles (80 km) or more from home, AAA Travel said.

United Airlines (UAL.O) said it was forecasting Monday to be its busiest travel day since March 2020. For the five-day holiday period, it was forecasting 1.34 million passengers – but still down from 2.3 million over the same period in 2019.

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Source: Reuters