The Real Numbers: Are People Still Flying?

Last week I wrote about how my flight to Japan was completely empty and we know that demand for air travel, globally, has plummeted given that many airlines have grounded their fleet in response.

I thought it would be interesting to look at numbers domestically. So, how many people are actually traveling and how does it compare to this time last year? The numbers may surprise you.


The TSA’s Public Affairs spokesperson, Lisa Farbstein, shares a lot of interesting data on her Twitter account (@tsamedia_lisaf). But perhaps the most interesting data she shares is on how many people are passing through TSA checkpoints.

In addition to the current daily numbers, she provides a comparison of how many people passed through TSA checkpoints during this time the previous year.

It’s worth noting that some days of the week are busier than others so you may see a dip in numbers but let’s look at the last 14 days and compare 2020 to 2019…

  • March 26 (Thursday): 239,234 vs. 2,273,811 (~10.5% of last year)
  • March 27 (Friday): 199,644 vs. 2,538,384 (~7.9% of last year)
  • March 28 (Saturday): 184,027 vs. 2,172,920 (~8.5% of last year)
  • March 29 (Sunday): 180,002 vs. 2,510,294 (~7.2% of last year)
  • March 30 (Monday): 154,080 vs. 2,360,053 (~6.5% of last year)
  • March 31 (Tuesday): 146,348 vs. 2,026,256 (~7.2% of last year)
  • April 1 (Wednesday): 136,023 vs. 2,151,626 (~6.3% of last year)
  • April 2 (Thursday): 124,021 vs. 2,411,500 (~5.1% of last year)
  • April 3 (Friday): 129,763 vs. 2,476,884 (~5.2% of last year)
  • April 4 (Saturday): 118,302 vs. 2,011,715 (~5.9% of last year)
  • April 5 (Sunday): 122,029 vs. 2,462,929 (~4.9% of last year)
  • April 6 (Monday): 108,310 vs. 2,384,091 (~4.5% of last year)
  • April 7 (Tuesday): 97,130 vs. 2,091,056 (~4.6% of last year)
  • April 8 (Wednesday): 94,931 vs. 2,229,276 (~4.2% of last year)

Note: TSA also updates these numbers every morning at 9AM if you don’t have twitter (CLICK HERE).

Tuesday was the first time that passenger traffic dipped below 100,000 and all of these numbers represent new record lows for traffic.

If you prefer a visual representation since the beginning of March, take a look at this:


I find these numbers fascinating. Not only have the numbers dropped off significantly in the last two weeks but yesterdays numbers of ~94,000 passengers compared to the “normal” 2.2 million passengers yesterday is drastic!

On one hand, I’m glad to see that everyone is social distancing but I can’t help but be surprised by these numbers.

Are you surprised by these numbers? When do you think these numbers will return to “normal?”


  1. So interesting, thanks for the data. I’m not terribly surprised, I follow some random pilot and flight attendants on various platforms and they have been posting about how there are usually 5-10 passengers on aircraft like a 737. I’m not sure we return to “normal” any time soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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