U.S. air visitors hits a pandemic excessive at the start of the busy season

Travelers wait in line at a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint at Orlando International Airport on the Friday before Memorial Day. As more people get the COVID-19 vaccine, the American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts that more than 37 million Americans will travel more than 80 miles this Memorial Day weekend, many for the first time since the pandemic began .

Paul Hennessy | LightRakete | Getty Images

Air travel volumes reached their highest level since the coronavirus pandemic began on Memorial Day weekend, the latest sign of recovery for the sector.

The Transportation Security Administration checked an average of 1.78 million people Friday through Monday, hitting a high of 1.96 million on Friday. Those volumes are more than six times higher than a year ago, but still 22% below Memorial Day weekend in 2019.

The surge in travelers is driving up vacation prices, including airfare, hotel and rental car prices. Domestic vacation fares are close to 2019 levels, airlines said.

The airline’s shares rose Tuesday after the TSA released the latest data. American Airlines and United Airlines both gained around 3% in morning trading. The low-cost airlines Allegiant, Frontier and Spirit, which are geared towards leisure travelers, each gained more than 3%, while the S&P 500 gained 0.3%.

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