Soaring: Memorial Day air travel flew above pre-pandemic levels

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If airport check-in queues were a little longer than you’d anticipated this Memorial Day weekend, you certainly weren’t alone. The TSA announced it screened nearly 9.8 million travelers nationwide, surpassing 2019’s figure by ~300,000. Air travel traffic across the long weekend reached dizzying heights, with Friday alone seeing 2.74 million passengers, the highest daily volume since the 2019 Thanksgiving weekend.

Notably, there were fewer cancellations and delays this year. FlightAware data revealed that airlines canceled only 699 flights, roughly down 75% from the holiday weekend in 2022. In addition, fewer than a fifth of all flights arrived late — good news for both beleaguered airlines and passengers with holiday plans.


Last year's chaotic summer travel season, characterized by rolling waves of cancellations and various other frustrations, has left a lasting impression on holiday seekers. This year's Memorial Day weekend has served as a crucial test, then, for the start of the 2023 summer season, and the industry passed with flying colors. American Airlines, which faced challenges during the recovery period, didn’t cancel a single flight between Wednesday and Saturday and only scrapped a total of 34 regional flights across the whole weekend.

As people continue to play catch up on the travel they missed during the pandemic, this holiday weekend could hopefully signal the start of a clear-sky summer for potential jet setters.

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