Airlines Tighten Security, Airbnb Cancels D.C. Rentals Ahead of Biden Inauguration

By Anna Breuer on 14 January 2021
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Washington Dulles International Airport

The travel industry is preparing for the possibility of additional violence ahead of the inauguration of Joseph Biden as the 46th president of the United States.

Airlines and airports are adding additional staff and security personnel in and around Washington, D.C., while Airbnb preemptively cancelled all guest reservations in the area for the week of the inauguration.  Earlier in the week, the Federal Aviation Administration threatened anyone who doesn’t comply with all crewmember instructions with a hefty fine or jail, citing an increase in such behavior over the past week.

“The FAA has seen a disturbing increase in incidents where airline passengers have disrupted flights with threatening or violent behavior,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson in a statement. “These incidents have stemmed both from passengers’ refusal to wear masks and from recent violence at the U.S. Capitol.”

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines among others are not accepting firearms in checked baggage on flights to D.C.-area airports until after the inauguration; weapons cannot be carried in carry-on luggage nor through airport security checkpoints.  American is also moving crew members out of downtown hotels for their layovers in the D.C. area.

Seattle-based Alaska Airlines is limited the number of tickets it will sell on flights to D.C. airports after law-enforcement officials called on people to avoid travel to the area.  On flights landing at D.C.-area airports, passengers will be required to remain in their seats for one hour prior to landing, a procedure last in place after the September 11, 2001 attacks, as well as for one hour after take-off. Alaska said it would divert flights or offload passengers if needed.

Meanwhile, American Airlines is extending a Covid-related ban on selling alcoholic beverages in coach on flights to and from Washington from January 16 through January 21.

Flight attendants are corroborating the FAA reports of disruptive behavior, which has involved numerous incidents where passengers refusing to wear masks are posted on social media channels rambling incoherently about “tyranny” and chanting passengers.

Social media reports captured an American Airlines pilot threatening to divert a plane to Kansas after pro-Trump chants broke out on a flight between D.C. and Phoenix last week.

Alaska Airlines last week banned 16 passengers from flying the airline after some people from Washington Dulles Airport to Seattle were “non-mask-compliant, rowdy, argumentative and harassed our crew members,” said a spokesman for the Seattle-based carrier.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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