Airline travel for Thanksgiving hits pandemic high – but still less than half of last year’s levels

People wait for their luggage in the terminal at Boston Logan International Airport in Boston on November 25, 2020.

Erin Clark | Boston Globe | Getty Images

Air travel to the United States is at its highest level since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, data released Monday showed, an increase that came despite warnings from US health officials against travel.

Nearly 1.2 million people were screened by the Transportation Security Administration at airports on Sunday, the most since March 16, but still down about 60% from the nearly 2.9 million people screened by the TSA a year earlier.

Airlines, including American and United, have offered some employees extra pay to cope with the increased demand, while Delta Air Lines has canceled hundreds of flights due to a shortage of pilots during the holidays. , an issue that the carrier said it resolved.

Airlines have bet on a surge in air travel during the holidays, but demand is still a fraction of last year’s levels and executives earlier this month said ticket sales slowed amid ‘a spike in coronavirus cases and new warnings from health officials.

JetBlue Airways said on Monday that its fourth quarter revenue will fall 70% from the same period last year, down from previous forecasts of a 65% drop.

“Booking trends remain volatile and the company continues to believe demand and revenue recovery will be non-linear through the fourth quarter and beyond,” the New York-based carrier said in a securities filing.

Its daily cash consumption will likely average between $ 6 million and $ 8 million in the quarter, up from its earlier estimate of $ 4 million to $ 6 million per day.

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