Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN) – A big travel holiday weekend is upon us, travelers are back to pre-pandemic levels, and flying to vacation destinations, including the Music City.
TSA expecting more people to travel than anytime this year. Already, agents have seen more than 27,000 travelers go through the BNA airport. This year, TSA set a new single-day record, screening more than 2-million people, the highest check-point volume the agency has seen since the beginning of the pandemic.
Nationwide, travel has risen by 80%, and the trend is even higher here in Nashville, with the number of passengers walking in and out of the airport, increasing by more than 90%.
Many attributing the high numbers to the rise in vaccinations. The federal face mask mandate remains in effect on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, including hubs like airports.
“Me, I’m an asthmatic so I didn’t expect to travel, but with everybody here it’s crazy,” said one traveler.
The Fourth of July Holiday expected to draw thousands to the airport, the weekend given the title of the largest celebration in the past 15 months. With the weekend underway, TSA officials are warning those who plan to travel by plane, passengers cannot fly with fireworks. Although this may seem obvious, they say it is an issue every year.
“We are in the middle of Fourth of July weekend, if you’re traveling do not bring fireworks to the security checkpoint, don’t bring them to the airport at all. They are explosives and people sometimes don’t think about that, so don’t bring them to the airport they’re not allowed in either carry-on bags or check bags, just wait until you get to your destination to pick those up,” said Mark Howell, a TSA Regional Spokesperson.
In order to beat those long lines, TSA is encouraging people to check their bags twice, before coming to the airport. Recently, there has been a spike in the number of firearms found inside bags, officials say most of them are loaded, making the trend even more dangerous.
“About 80 percent, just about 80 percent of the firearms that come to our checkpoint are loaded, obviously, that’s a dangerous situation, a safety concern, and we don’t want to expose other passengers or our officers to that kind of danger,” explained Stephen Wood, Federal Security Director, Tennessee.