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US air travelers jump by more than 1 million during holiday season

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(Bloomberg) – More than a million people flew over U.S. domestic airports on Friday, the second-highest daily total since the coronavirus pandemic last spring, even as officials warn against travel around the holidays of Thanksgiving.

Airline passengers are still lagging far behind normal levels, but data released by the Transportation Security Administration shows at least some people believe they are staying at home in light of rapidly growing Covid infections -19.

A total of 1,019,836 people passed through U.S. airport security check gates on Friday, 40 percent of the nearly 2.6 million people who flew on the same day last year, TSA data showed.

As the number of passengers fell from mid-March, only October 18 had more people boarding the flights. The Friday total was well above the weeklong average of 829,000 passengers per day.

The increase came despite recent warnings from carriers, including American Airlines Group Inc., United Airlines Holdings Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co., of slowing demand for vacation travel. The time around Thanksgiving has traditionally been one of the busiest for travel.

There has been a deceleration in system bookings and an increase in cancellations following the recent spike in Covid-19 cases, United said in a regulatory filing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday urged people not to travel for Thanksgiving, which is Thursday, and to limit gatherings to those in the same household.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recommended people think twice before traveling during the holidays.

Various governors have echoed the call to restrict gatherings for the popular holiday, without necessarily issuing formal directives.

Think about those you love and what you would do to protect them. It is up to each of us to be responsible and prevent the spread of Covid this holiday season, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, said on Twitter on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Republican and Democratic governors in several Midwestern states released a joint video urging people to stay home for Thanksgiving, according to the Associated Press.

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