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Americans set another pandemic-era record for air travel

May 10, 2021 GMT
FILE - In this Wednesday, March 17, 2021 file photo, travelers walk through the Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City. Mother's Day weekend meant bigger crowds at U.S. airports. The Transportation Security Administration said its agents screened slightly more than 1.7 million people on Sunday, May 9 the highest number since March 2020, when travel was collapsing because of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, March 17, 2021 file photo, travelers walk through the Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City. Mother's Day weekend meant bigger crowds at U.S. airports. The Transportation Security Administration said its agents screened slightly more than 1.7 million people on Sunday, May 9 the highest number since March 2020, when travel was collapsing because of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Americans set a record for pandemic-era air travel, then broke it again over the Mother’s Day holiday weekend.

The Transportation Security Administration said that slightly more than 1.7 million people were screened at airport checkpoints on Sunday, the highest number since March 2020, when travel was collapsing because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Sunday’s mark was about 4,500 more than the previous record, set just two days earlier.

However, those crowds were still far smaller than before the pandemic. Sunday’s TSA count was down 29% from the comparable Sunday two years ago, according to TSA.

Air travel has been rising slowly for more than a year since hitting bottom in mid-April 2020. The numbers had leveled off recently, but with the busy weekend, the 7-day moving average of U.S. air travelers surpassed the period around the Easter holiday and also set a pandemic-era high.

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Airlines say most of the people on flights now are leisure travelers going to destinations within the United States.

International travelers entering the U.S. are required to show proof of a negative test for COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said recently travelers can meet that requirement with federally approved home-testing kits, potentially making international travel a little easier.