The TSA Had Its Busiest Day On Record During Thanksgiving Weekend

Record numbers of travelers were screened during the busy holiday weekend.

TSA security checks through a backpack at the screening checkpoint.
Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Record numbers of travelers were screened during the busy holiday weekend.

If you thought the airport was a little crowded over Thanksgiving weekend, you were right. According to a new report by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), this holiday weekend marked the busiest time in the history of the organization.

In a report by Business Insider, it was noted that over 2.7 million people went through security checkpoints on Sunday alone, a major milestone for the TSA. That’s roughly an increase of over 16,000 passengers from the last record-breaking day, back in 2004 — again, on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. While there have been some seriously busy travel days over the years (Thursdays and Fridays during the summer are particularly swamped), this Sunday is a landmark in the 17-year history of the TSA.

“It was all hands on deck during the Thanksgiving holiday week,” said David Pekoske, administrator of the TSA. “Close coordination with airline and airport partners, new technology, enhanced screening and more travelers enrolled in TSA PreCheck, TSA used every tool to secure air travel for the millions of passengers traveling to their holiday destinations.”

Overall, the TSA screened 25.6 million passengers during the holiday weekend — a truly impressive feat for everyone involved. That’s up about 6 percent from the same time period back in 2017. Americans are clearly on the move — especially when it comes to the holidays.

Perhaps most impressive was how efficient the entire operation was. Nobody is a big fan of waiting in line at airports (especially when you’re in a hurry to get to your gate). Luckily, the TSA was operating in top form. According to the agency, about 95 percent of passengers had less than 2o minutes of waiting time. Those that opted for the TSA PreCheck Lane had an even faster travel time: 99 percent of those who signed up spent less than 10 minutes cooling their heels at security checkpoints.

This has been an extremely busy travel year overall. According to the official report by the TSA, 2018 offered up seven of the top 10 busiest days in the entire history of the TSA. Two of the others (including No. 2 on the list) are from 2004, while 2017 squeaks in at No. 10.

And while the TSA has been in top form when it comes to handling all of these travelers and keeping them safe, that doesn’t necessarily equal smooth skies. Despite the speedy times for security checkpoints, passengers spent a lot of time waiting at various airports due to bad weather. According to USA Today, that Sunday alone saw over 1,300 flights canceled and another 4,700 delayed — all on the busiest day the TSA has ever witnessed.