1 of 3 | Despite higher ticket prices, more people moved through airport security checkpoints during the long holiday weekend than before the pandemic, U.S. federal data show. File photo by Alexis C. Glenn/UPI | License Photo
May 30 (UPI) -- More people traveled through U.S. airport security checkpoints during the long Memorial Day holiday weekend than during the same period in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, data show.
The Transportation Security Administration reported that around 9.78 million people moved through security checkpoints between Friday and Monday, compared with 9.74 million during the same period in 2019.
Airline tickets are considerably more expensive than in 2019, before the pandemic, though this year marks the first full year without social restrictions designed to control the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The World Health Organization declared an end to the global COVID-19 public health emergency on May 5.
Travel club AAA expected a bump in travel over Memorial Day weekend, although road trips had not bounced back to pre-pandemic levels.
AAA expected 42.3 million Americans to travel 50 miles or more, up 2.7 million, or 7%, from 2022. Air travel, however, was expected to be 11% higher than this time last year and 5.4% higher than before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
"Despite high ticket prices, demand for flights is skyrocketing," AAA said. "This Memorial Day weekend could be the busiest at airports since 2005."
From his account on Twitter, meanwhile, Patrick DeHaan, the senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, said demand for U.S. gasoline between Thursday and Monday was 1.1% lower than year-ago levels.
While airline tickets are up on demand-related issues, retail gasoline prices are on the decline due to lingering concerns about the state of affairs. AAA on Tuesday put the national average retail price at $3.58 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline, $1.04 per gallon lower than this time last year.