EL PASO, Texas -- More than 1.8 million people made their way through a Transportation Security Agency checkpoint at airports across the nation this past Sunday, which marked a new pandemic-era record. While these numbers are not as high as the near three million TSA saw on busier days in 2019, it does point to just how busy airports around the country are getting.
"We have seen at least a million people travelling nationwide daily," said Patircia Mancha, a spokesperson for the TSA.
The agency is preparing to hire up to 6,000 employees to fulfill the growing need to keep up with the travel rush. As the summer months near and the number of vaccinated American's continues to grow, the TSA is adapting their game plan.
"Our officers, our leaders have been preparing. They've all been making sure that they look at scheduling, the man hours available," Mancha said.
During the pandemic, the TSA was rotating its employees to minimize potential exposure to Covid-19. Now, the agency is bringing everyone back, however Covid-19 safe practices are still in play. The TSA will continue to enforce Centers for Disease Control guidelines, meaning face masks will be mandatory at airports, one of the few places where masks are still enforced nationwide.
"When people get to the checkpoint, they will be asked to lower their masks for a facial identification. But if someone refuses to wear a mask, they will not be allowed to get pas the checkpoint," Mancha explained.
It is still not known whether or not travel will bounce back to pre-pandemic levels when nearly three-million travelers would go through TSA checkpoints. But the agency is not taking any chances, which is why it is ramping up hiring efforts through the summer months.
"If you look at our daily numbers we have not dipped below 1.3 to 1.4 million travelers a day, so we are expecting for that trend to continue. We are expecting for that trend to go up with kids getting out of school and families planning vacations," Mancha said.
If you are interested in a job with the TSA, follow this link to apply.