ST. LOUIS – Spring break travel is picking up in a big way. In fact, St. Louis-Lambert International Airport is reporting the largest volume of passengers since the start of the pandemic.

Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge says air travel is getting back to normal and family vacations as well. Spring break travel the past few weeks has proven just that.

“I think it is time for people to start to live their lives again and travel is a big part of most people’s lives. It’s certainly an important piece of the economy of the U.S.,” she said.

Authorities say many Americans are returning to flying, particularly to vacation destinations. St. Louis Airport tracks how many people move through its screening checkpoints and those stats show people are returning to travel in large numbers.

Last week, the TSA at STL recorded 124,972 outgoing passengers going through its security checkpoints at the airport. That’s the highest amount of passengers they have seen go through security since STL began collecting this data during the pandemic beginning in March 2020. The last four days of the previous week saw a total of 77,000 passengers go through TSA checkpoints at STL; this exceeded the throughput during the same time period in 2019 prior to the pandemic.

Hamm-Niebruegge says it’s hard to find parking at both terminals—a pattern across the country—and as coronavirus cases decrease, more people are getting vaccinated, and are now willing to travel amid a pandemic.

“It’s really good news for us at the airport and I hope it’s good news for everybody, because we see vendors doing well. The restaurants and shops are full, the garages are full, and I think the airlines are doing well with full flights. Very few empty seats on the flights,” she said.

“I think there is two things people are ready to get back out. We all know the last two years was really hard on families. Just family vacations. So, I think people have a comfort level with the numbers.”

The airport director is reminding passengers to keep paying attention to CDC recommendations when they decide to travel.