Almost two million travelers passed through U.S. airport security gates on 28 May, the start of the Memorial Day weekend, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration reported, the largest one-day total since March 2020.
In all, 7.1 million people flew U.S. routes that weekend, more than five times the number a year earlier but well below the 9.7 million who went skyward during 2019’s same holiday weekend.
The number seems to justify Texas-based American Airlines’ decision to increase capacity during this month to just 7 percent below 2019 levels and 5 percent in July.
Most of the airline’s routes are domestic, with a smattering in Central and South America. Delta Airlines, which flies to Africa, China, and Europe as well as the Americas, is keeping its capacity about 30 percent below its 2019 levels this month and will raise it to 20 percent in July, the airline has said.
“Schedules reflect differences in geographical exposures and strengths in addition to varying levels of aggressiveness or conservatism by managements,” Raymond James analyst Savanthi Syth said in comments quoted by the Financial Times. 
“American has definitely been more aggressive on recovery expectations relative to Delta or United,” she said, adding that American also has benefited from its greater focus on domestic routes. 
United has long had fewer summer flights scheduled than the other two major U.S. airlines and the greatest number of international flights, Cirium analyst Jon Jager told the FT. 
TREND FORECAST: Again, as we continue to note, with many countries still banning foreign visitors, and those which are opening up demanding that travelers have a vaccine passport, international travel will not solidly rebound. Indeed, United is not now flying passengers from small cities to its hubs to connect to international flights, Jager told the FT.

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