GREENSBORO, N.C. — More Americans passed through TSA flight checkpoints over the last seven days than at any other time since the pandemic's start, according to TSA data analyzed by WFMY News 2.
Travel experts say this upward trend is likely to continue into spring and summer 2021.
For the seven days prior to this Saturday, an average of 1,418,582 travelers passed through TSA checkpoints. Compare that to an average of 141,220 travelers for the same time period during 2020. For comparison, the average for March 28 to April 3, 2019 was 2,278,333 travelers per day.
According to a survey by TripAdvisor released mid-March, half of U.S. respondents were planning a trip this spring, March 1 - May 31. The top three destinations with the biggest increase in online TripAdvisor searches this year are Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean.
WFMY News 2 spoke with two travel agents in Greensboro about what trends they're observing.
"The last few weeks, honestly, have seen a huge uptick in travel interest. We went from people getting information, to now people actually are booking. We are doing a lot of last-minute bookings," said Joshua Purkett with Getaway Travel Group in Greensboro.
Purkett said ocean and tropical destinations are currently in high demand.
"A lot of people are really wanting that nice beach and sunshine. They've been in the house the last year. They want to get to those places like Jamaica, Mexico, Dominican Republic. They really want to get out," he said.
Before booking, the travel agents warned those seeking getaways to research coronavirus testing, restrictions, and other requirements specific to each U.S. state or country.
Lyndsee DeMoss of Dream Catcher Travel in Greensboro has seen a similar uptick in travelers ready to take flight.
"The last two weeks we actually sold a lot of last minute travel for people wanting to get out April or May. But for the most part we are seeing summer and fall travel," she said.
DeMoss said she has also observed an increase in the price of flights.
"Recently, we have seen a lot of not just flight prices going up, but we have seen a lot of flight schedule changes. They’re starting to limit their scheduling, so not as many planes are going out. But then they’re raising those prices to make up for the money they lost, so we are seeing probably a double in prices compared to this time last year," she said.