A desolate John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) in New York on Christmas Eve resembled many across the United States as less than 850,000 people took to the skies for the holiday weekend.
On Christmas day Friday, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spokesperson Lisa Farbstein said that only 846,520 people were screened through airport checkpoints nationwide on Thursday.
That was roughly a third of the number of people who travelled on the day before Christmas in 2019, the spokeswoman added.
‘One year ago, 2,552,194 people were screened. If you choose to travel, please wear a mask,’ she said in the post.
And JFK was truly reflective of how little air travel was actually taking place over the holiday weekend.
Terminal 1 at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Christmas Eve day was looking quite quiet on December 24th, 2020 in Queens, NY
NEW YORK: On Christmas day Friday, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spokesperson Lisa Farbstein said that only 846,520 people were screened through airport checkpoints nationwide on Thursday. Terminal 8 at Kennedy Airport
NEW YORK: Air travel this holiday season is down by 60 percent and car travel is also down by 25 percent. Terminal 1 at the airport
NEW YORK: A few people can be seen checking into their flights at American Airline kiosk in Terminal 8
Only a few people could be seen going through the TSA checkpoint at Terminal 1 Departures. Some headed through the terminal stopped and took COVID-19 tests as they headed for their flights.
Delta Airline planes were packed tightly together on the tarmac as air travel overall was down by 60 percent.
Farbstein said Thursday morning that 1,191,123 individuals were screened at airport checkpoints nationwide on Wednesday.
‘It’s the highest checkpoint volume since March 16, when 1,257,823 people were screened,’ Farbstein said, adding that anyone who travels this holiday season should ‘wear a mask’.
NEW YORK: British Airways also saw few fliers and was very quiet on Christmas Eve
NEW YORK: Delta Airline planes were packed tightly together on the tarmac as air travel overall was down by 60 percent
NEW YORK: In Terminal 1, those coming through could stop and get a COVID-19 test before embarking on their flight
NEW YORK: A pilot walks along an otherwise deserted Terminal 4 as he heads to his plane
The revelation comes just a day after the TSA reported that more than 5 million people passed through airport checkpoints across the nation between Friday and Tuesday despite pleas from public health experts to stay at home for the holidays.
Around 3.2 million of those passengers were screened across Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with each day recording more than a million air travelers apiece.
This broke the record for the most weekend travelers since the pandemic began in March, and the first time since then that more than a million passengers have passed through the nation’s airports on three consecutive days.
NEW YORK: A passenger waits to receive his boarding information at Terminal 1 in Kennedy airport
NEW YORK: An airport employee sits on his own in Terminal 8 at Kennedy airport
NEW YORK: A lone passenger waits for their flight at the deserted airport
NEW YORK: The Air train had very few passengers going to and leaving Kennedy airport
The TSA reported that 954,782 people passed through airport security checkpoints on Monday and 992,167 passed through checkpoints on Tuesday.
The influx in air travel ahead of the Christmas holiday is so far narrowly outpacing what the US saw in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, when some Americans likewise disregarded travel warnings that experts have since attributed to the nationwide surge in COVID cases.
Since March, there have been a total of nine days that saw more than 1 million passenger screened in airports: One occurred in October, four in November, and four have been recorded so far this month.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance last month that discouraged travel and urged those who need to travel to acquire coronavirus tests before and after their journey.
NEW JERSEY: Air travelers wait to board a plane in Newark Liberty International Airport on December 24
NEW JERSEY: Newark appeared to be a little bit more crowded in comparison to Kennedy airport
FLORIDA: Travellers wear facemasks at Miami International Airport on Christmas Eve
FLORIDA: Travelers wearing face masks arrive at Orlando International Airport on the day before Christmas, ignoring health experts who recommend against holiday travel
MICHIGAN: Travelers check in for their flights at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport on Christmas Eve
MICHIGAN: A group of travelers wait by the baggage claims at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
MICHIGAN: A traveler waits to be picked up at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, amid the coronavirus disease