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Some airlines tighten security on DC flights in wake of Capitol riot, in-flight incidents

Congress FAA
Posted at 3:31 PM, Jan 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-07 15:35:00-05

WASHINGTON — In the wake of the violent breaching of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday and in-flight incidents involving Trump supporters, some U.S. airlines have tightened their security measures.

American Airlines said in a statement to E.W. Scripps that they increased staffing at DC-area airports as a precautionary measure and won't provide alcohol on flights to and from the airports.

"At American, safety is our highest priority. We are working closely with local law enforcement and airport authority partners to ensure the safety of our customers and team members on the ground and in the air," a spokesperson said in a statement emailed to EW Scripps.

The spokesperson added that American would "continue to enforce policies that ensure our customers' and team members' safety and wellbeing."

American will not provide alcohol on any of the DC flights through Thursday night but would continue to monitor the situation.

Currently, American is not serving alcohol on any flights due to COVID-19.

Although Delta Airlines did not go into specifics as to what security measures they'd be taking, a spokesperson told EW Scripps in an email that "there's nothing more important than protecting the integrity of the safety and security measures that keep our employees and customers safe."

"Delta continually works with law enforcement agencies and all aviation stakeholders to enact methods - both seen and unseen - as part of our unwavering efforts to keep everyone safe at our airports and on our flights."

In a press release, the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) suggested that those who flew into DC and participated in the Capitol's breaching should be banned from flying.

"Our first priority in aviation safety and security is to keep any problems on the ground. Some of the people who traveled in our planes yesterday participated in the insurrection at the Capitol today," union president Sara Nelson said in a statement. "Their violent and seditious actions at the Capitol today create further concern about their departure from the DC area. Acts against our democracy, our government, and the freedom we claim as Americans must disqualify these individuals from the freedom of flight. We in aviation have a serious role to play in national security."

In coordination with TSA, DHS, FAA, DOT, and law enforcement, Nelson added that "airlines must take all steps to ensure the safety and security of passengers and crew by keeping all problems on the ground."

The announcement comes on the heels of problems on flights AFA saw ahead of Wednesday's planned gathering of Trump supporters in the nation's capital. In the statement, they linked to a video that showed issues arising on an American Airlines flight from Dallas to DC.

"The mob mentality behavior that took place on several flights to the D.C. area yesterday (Wednesday) was unacceptable and threatened the safety and security of every single person on board," Nelson added. "It will not happen again."

According to The New York Times, Mitt Romney was heckled by Trump supporters while flying from Salt Lake City to DC on a Delta flight Tuesday.