The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) set another screening record during the 2017 holiday travel period, December 15 through January 2, 2018, with more than 42 million (42,043,588) passengers and more than 30.6 million (30,611,408) checked bags screened nationwide. December 22, the Friday before Christmas, was the busiest day with more than 2.5 million passengers and crew members screened. It was the 11th busiest day in TSA’s history.
“We saw a record number of passengers during both the Thanksgiving and Christmas travel periods,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “With enhanced security measures in place and the bustle of holiday travelers, our TSA officers excelled. They operated efficiently while maintaining a keen focus on security effectiveness, which was an enormous task, and I am very proud of them all,” he added.
The enhanced screening measures, which began at a handful of airports in late summer 2017, saw incremental expansion lane-by-lane at most of the nation’s largest airports in time for Thanksgiving, with even more checkpoint lanes utilizing the enhanced procedures before the Christmas holiday season.
Nine of the top 15 busiest days on record in the past 16 years all have occurred since May 2017.
Even though the volume of individuals screened was notably high, 97 percent of all passengers waited less than 20 minutes at the checkpoint and 95.6 percent of passengers who were in a TSA Pre✓ lane waited less than 5 minutes.
On an average travel day, TSA screens approximately 2.1 million passengers and crew. In the busiest days during the holiday travel period, TSA screened as many as 400,000 more passengers per day than usual.
“The combination of increased passenger volume with a persistent terror threat means that TSA must continue to invest in its screening workforce, strengthen its close partnerships with the airline industry and deploy state-of-the-art technology,” added Pekoske.