Hawaii airports are so busy for spring break that the Transportation Security Administration has issued a travel advisory urging travelers to get to Hawaii’s commercial airports more than two hours prior to departure.
As many as 15,882 trans-Pacific travelers were screened in Hawaii on Tuesday. Some 9,548 said they came for vacation or pleasure. That’s actually the lowest day in some time with HTA reported that more than 16,000 trans-Pacific travelers have been screened at Hawaii airports every day between March 17 and March 23.
The best day of the season so far was March 20 when HTA said 23,978 trans-Pacific passengers were screened, and as many as 17,425 said they were coming vacation or pleasure.
Counts at the Hawaii Safe Travels, which include screenings of interisland travelers, paint an even busier picture. Hawaii Safe Travels reported there were 19,363 traveler screenings on Tuesday and as many as 28,434 on March 20.
To be sure, the 7-moving average of passenger counts reported by the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, shot up like a vertical arrow on March 7. It’s now above passenger counts at this time last year when the pandemic and government restrictions had just started to drop travel demand.
According to DBEDT data, 2020 passenger counts in Hawaii prior to the pandemic ranged from a low of just below the mid 20,000s to about 37,500 per day.
TSA officials, who issued the Hawaii advisory on Tuesday, said they are “using all available resources to screen travelers and their belongings during this busy travel season.”
“However, during multiple times throughout the day, the number of departing travelers may exceed the capacity of the TSA security checkpoint,” officials said.
To improve the travel experience, TSA is advising Hawaii travelers to:
>> Arrive more than two hours prior to flight departure.
>> Wear a mask throughout the airport and during the security screening process. Travelers without a mask will be denied entry to the security checkpoint, boarding and continued transport. Failure to comply with the mask requirement can result in civil penalties.
>> For the health and safety of travelers and TSA employees, practice social distancing leading up to and in the security checkpoint environment.
>> Consider checking your luggage. Reducing the number of carry-on bags and personal items that need to be screened through the security checkpoint saves time for all travelers.
>> Be prepared for the screening process. Don’t bring prohibited items to the security checkpoint. Download the myTSAapp and use the “Can I Bring?” feature to find out whether an item is allowed in your carry-on luggage or if it needs to be placed in checked luggage.
The uptick in Hawaii travelers coincides with national trends.
TSA spokesman Mark Howel tweeted on Wednesday that “TSA officers screened 1,076,453 passengers and crew nationwide yesterday—the 13th consecutive day with volume over 1M. This year, we’ve had 28 days that hit that threshold, with 18 of them being in March.”
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