Labor Day weekend sees 7m Americans take to the skies – double the number who flew in 2020


More than six million people take to the skies over the Labor Day weekend – double the number who flew in 2020 despite COVID cases being up 300% from this time last year

  •  U.S. airports were flooded with over 7 million travelers this past weekend despite increased concerns over the Delta variant
  •  Despite a brief slow period in August, numbers significantly rose over the course of Labor Day weekend 
  •  The TSA reported that the spike in holiday weekend numbers doubled from 2020
  • Various destinations across the country reached pre-pandemic level crowds 


Airports were crowded with passengers across the country over Labor Day weekend with over seven million people passing through the TSA checkpoint, doubling last year’s numbers.

The TSA reported Labor Day weekend numbers with 1.8 million on September 2, 2.1 million on September 3, 1.5 million on September 4 and 1.6 million on September 5 – a total of seven million people, and close to the 7.8 million who traveled over Labor Day weekend in 2019.  

In 2020, the Labor Day weekend traveler numbers were 968,373 on September 3, 664,640 on September 4, 689,630 on both September 5 and 935,310 on September 6 – a total of 3.2 million people  

This year’s numbers weren’t quite as high as Labor Day 2019, which saw 1.8 million fly on August 29, 2.2 million on August 30, 2 million on August 31 and 1.8 million on September 1 – a total of 7.8 million passengers.  

The recent increase in air travel came after a brief slow period in August which saw passenger numbers briefly drop amid concerns over the COVID Delta variant.   

This graph shows how 2021 travel numbers – in green – have far eclipsed 2020 figures and are only slightly below pre-COVID levels from 2019 

Airports were flooded with passengers over the Labor Day weekend despite rising concerns of the Delta variant

Airports were flooded with passengers over the Labor Day weekend despite rising concerns of the Delta variant

None of the figures have so-far matched the post COVID flying numbers record, when 2.2 million people passed through American airports on August 1. 

Meanwhile, analysis of spending on flights seen by Fox Business shows just how badly fears over Delta impacted flight bookings.

Their analysis showed that from August 1 to 21, customers spent just $2.9 billion on flight bookings.

That was half the $6 billion spent on flight bookings throughout June, and also considerably lower than the $5.26 billion spent on plane tickets in July.

Figures for the rest of August have yet to be released, although Pandya said he expects the final total ‘to be significantly under July.’   

Travelers are seen making their way through Miami International Airport on Sep. 3 - the same day which saw nearly 2.1 million people go through the TSA checkpoint

Travelers are seen making their way through Miami International Airport on Sep. 3 – the same day which saw nearly 2.1 million people go through the TSA checkpoint 

Despite a brief slow three-week period, the holiday weekend increased the spike in travel

Despite a brief slow three-week period, the holiday weekend increased the spike in travel

Americans took to the skies again as COVID regulations were lifted in May and June, but many have grown more cautious as Delta caused infection levels to hit record levels, with the CDC urging unvaccinated travelers to stay home over the long weekend. 

Labor Day crowds reached pre-pandemic levels around the country over the course of the weekend. 

Maskless visitors were seen roaming around Santa Monica Pier and laying out on nearby crowded beaches.

Heavily populated cities such as New York also saw an influx of visitors as they were seen roaming around maskless in certain areas such as Washington Square Park.

Nearly 53 percent of the country has been fully vaccinated as hospitalizations and death rates have increased significantly since last year’s holiday weekend.

Cases have also reportedly risen more than four times higher than the previous year. 

 CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told The Daily News: ‘Given where we are with disease transmission right now, we would say that people need to take … these risks into their own consideration as they think about traveling.’ 

‘If you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling.’

Holiday weekend vacationers were seen overcrowding the Santa Monica Pier, with many unmasked

Holiday weekend vacationers were seen overcrowding the Santa Monica Pier, with many unmasked

Sheep Meadow in Central Park was crowded with visitors on September 6

Sheep Meadow in Central Park was crowded with visitors on September 6 

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