Holiday weekend air travel surges to highest levels since Thanksgiving as Covid cases continue to drop

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Lines of people wait to get through TSA airport screening.
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U.S. airports were the busiest since Thanksgiving over Presidents Day weekend, a sign that leisure travel continues to recover as Covid cases fall further.

The Transportation Security Administration screened nearly 8.4 million people from Friday through Monday, more than double the number from a year ago but down 7.5% from the 9 million people TSA screened in 2020, a month before Covid-19 was declared a pandemic.

U.S. airline executives have recently said that leisure travel continues to recover or surpass pre-pandemic levels, particularly for domestic trips. Fares are likely to rise along with stronger demand this spring as well as a surge in airline costs, including fuel and labor.

Corporate and long-haul international travel has been slower to recover as companies and individuals navigate a host of travel restrictions and many offices haven’t fully reopened.

Some countries, including the U.K., France, Israel have loosened entry requirements. U.S. airlines and several other travel-industry groups earlier this month urged the Biden administration to drop predeparture Covid testing requirements for vaccinated travelers headed to the U.S.

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