Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, record travel numbers reported by TSA

The summer travel season officially begins Memorial Day weekend and runs through Labor Day, but officials with the Transportation Security Administration said they’re already seeing record numbers.

Friday, May 17, and Sunday, May 19, are now among the top five busiest travel days in American history, officials said.

Friday saw 2,855,523 passengers screened by TSA agents, while 2,843,354 passengers passed through checkpoints on Sunday. For context, the all-time busiest travel day was the Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2023, when 2,908,785 passengers were counted.

"I think you’re going to see an even more crazy travel season," travel expert Troy Petenbrink told FOX 5. "I think you’re going to see a very, very busy travel season, especially as airline fares have kind of leveled off and in some cases reduced back down."


Memorial Day Weekend Travel: Best and worst times to drive in and around the DC area

Be ready to pack your patience this Memorial Day if you plan to travel in and around the D.C. region.

Asked why he thought the Friday and Sunday before Memorial Day were so busy this year, Petenbrink explained that a lot of people got used to traveling at less-typical times during the pandemic and found out they liked it. Also, he said many Americans still have flexible work schedules, meaning they no longer have to wait for a holiday weekend to hit the road.

"I think you definitely have to be prepared for the airports now, more than ever before," Petenbrink continued. "I mean we’re seeing long TSA lines, we’re seeing for pre-check, we’re seeing it for Clear, all of those things. So, when we talk about getting to the airport early, we actually mean it this year."

He added that he still expects to see record travel for the big summer holidays, as well. The TSA does too. 

Last week, officials said they're anticipating the busiest summer travel season ever.