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With more Americans fully vaccinated, expect boost in summer travel

Travelers pass through security screening at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Nov. 29, 2020, in SeaTac, Washington. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

As more people get vaccinated against COVID-19 and cases in many areas start to flatten or trend downward, there’s expected to be a boost in summer travel.

Pilot of ‘no touch’ technology, virtual queue for TSA lines comes to Sea-Tac

The U.S. Travel Association reports that more than seven in 10 American travelers (72%) are planning a summer vacation or getaway in 2021, which is up from 37% in 2020.

According to TSA checkpoint travel numbers, there have been more than one million travelers each day in the past two months. The numbers are much higher than 2020 traveler throughput, but not yet reaching levels seen in 2019 before the pandemic hit. On May 9, as an example, there were 1,707,805 travelers in 2021, compared to just 200,815 in 2020, and 2,419,114 on the same day in 2019.

With more Americans now vaccinated against COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its domestic travel guidance. In March, the CDC had recommended against spring break travel, but now recommends delaying domestic travel until you are fully vaccinated. For international travel, the CDC says not to go unless you are fully vaccinated.

“The COVID-19 situation, including the spread of new or concerning variants, differs from country to country, and even fully vaccinated travelers need to pay close attention to the situation at their destination before traveling,” the CDC states.

The CDC also offers recommendations for unvaccinated people if you must travel. All travelers, vaccinated or not, should self-monitor their symptoms, wear a mask, and take other precautions to limit the spread of the virus. Some destinations, including Hawaii, do have their own requirements for arriving travelers so be sure to check the rules before you go.

TSA lines stretch into parking garage at Sea-Tac Airport

At Sea-Tac Airport, there’s been a few times when TSA lines have extended into the skybridges and parking garage, in part due to lower TSA checkpoint staffing. The Port of Seattle recommends travelers get to the airport early in order to avoid these long lines.

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