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Airlines and flight attendant unions concerned about security when pro-Trump rioters leave DC

Airlines and two unions representing flight attendants are concerned about in-flight security as the pro-Trump rioters who...

Posted: Jan 7, 2021 12:18 PM
Updated: Jan 7, 2021 5:15 PM

Airlines and two unions representing flight attendants are concerned about in-flight security as the pro-Trump rioters who stormed the US Capitol Wednesday leave the Washington DC area.

American Airlines and United Airlines have both increased staffing at the DC-area airports where they operate. American is also suspending alcohol service on its flights to and from the region.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) International, which represents nearly 50,000 flight attendants at 17 airlines, said the rioters should not be allowed on flights home.

'Their violent and seditious actions at the Capitol (Wednesday) create further concern about their departure from the DC area,' AFA president Sara Nelson said in a statement. 'Acts against our democracy, our government, and the freedom we claim as Americans must disqualify these individuals from the freedom of flight.'

The union that represents American Airlines flight crew, Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), also issued a statement about in-flight incidents.

'We are incredibly concerned about recent politically motivated incidents on board passenger aircraft,' read the release from the APFA president Julie Hedrick. 'Regardless of one's political beliefs, the cabin of a commercial aircraft must, out of necessity, be a calm environment for the safety of everyone onboard.'

The statements come after several altercations on flights to DC ahead of the gathering of the president's most fervent supporters.

One video shared on Twitter showed Trump supporters yelling and arguing with other passengers aboard an American Airlines flight. In addition, Washington Post photographer Jabin Botsford posted video to Twitter of two passengers being removed from a flight to DC, and other videos showed pro-Trump supporters heckling Sen. Mitt Romney in the airport and on a flight.

'The mob mentality behavior that took place on several flights to the D.C. area (Tuesday) was unacceptable and threatened the safety and security of every single person onboard. It will not happen again,' Nelson said.

President Trump had encouraged his supporters to come to the capital to protest the certification of President-Elect Joe Biden's election win. Once there, a large group of supporters attacked Capitol Police officers and violently forced their way into the Capitol building on Wednesday, leaving four people dead.

Altercations aboard flights earlier this week

APFA spokesman Paul Hartshorn, Jr. told CNN Travel that the union had suspected there might be a rise in unruly passenger behavior this week, but not on 'such a threatening and violent level.'

On flights into and out of Washington, several flight attendants on several different airlines have been 'forced to confront more than one passenger on board who's verbally and or physically abusive to the crew, and to the passengers,' said Hartshorn. 'That's not something we should be dealing with.'

Hartshorn said some air crew who are members of APFA had expressed concern about flying DC routes over the upcoming days. In some cases, they've subsequently been moved onto different trips.

'It's an incredibly scary and dangerous situation,' he said. 'And it's a huge problem these past few days, and we anticipate it being a problem through the weekend, as these people fly home from the Washington area.'

But banning travelers who'd been involved in the violence would be 'a Herculean task,' he said.

'If the airline is aware of someone that has been abusive on the ground, involved in rioting, and destruction of property and dangerous behavior, that if the airline was aware of it, they absolutely should not be allowed to fly home from Washington on our airline. I believe, again, that that's very difficult to monitor.'

Nelson, the AFA president, called on airlines and government agencies to step in for security.

'Airlines, in coordination with TSA, DHS, FAA, DOT and law enforcement must take all steps to ensure the safety and security of passengers and crew by keeping all problems on the ground,' she added.

American Airlines stops alcohol services on DC flights

American Airlines says it is taking several new 'precautionary' measures, including no longer serving alcohol on flights to and from Washington.

American Airlines and United said their crew members with overnight layovers in the DC area will not stay in downtown hotels. Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines declined to specify any operational changes.

In an internal memo to Delta employees on Thursday, obtained by CNN, Delta CEO Ed Bastian called out the 'shocking violence at the US Capitol,' and said protest must not 'cross the line into violence and insurrection.'

'Respect and civility to others on our planes, at our airports, in our workplaces, and in our society -- even if we have differences of opinion -- has always been a requirement for our people and our customers,' Bastian wrote.

The four major airlines also said they have been in touch with law enforcement authorities and the Transportation Security Administration.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1118335

Reported Deaths: 17712
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1455892240
Lake724831254
Allen67063882
Hamilton51060487
St. Joseph49820649
Elkhart40268546
Vanderburgh34714497
Tippecanoe30808276
Johnson27696467
Hendricks26313385
Porter25657386
Madison21131455
Clark20238279
Vigo19059309
LaPorte17192261
Howard16770314
Delaware16761303
Monroe16628220
Kosciusko14293167
Hancock13113186
Bartholomew12983190
Warrick12210190
Wayne12090269
Floyd12011226
Grant11998245
Morgan10409192
Boone9869124
Noble9316122
Henry9177169
Marshall9152147
Dearborn8970100
Dubois8835140
Shelby8281130
Cass8167128
Lawrence8057185
DeKalb7817109
Jackson770793
Huntington7661115
Gibson7102118
Montgomery7101123
Harrison6954100
Knox6915116
Steuben669089
Whitley659660
Miami6595113
Putnam645085
Clinton627179
Wabash6221111
Jasper613192
Jefferson5856105
Ripley557294
Adams542281
Daviess5076117
Scott491580
Wells4836105
White478469
Greene4701101
Clay464662
Decatur4611110
Fayette452496
Jennings452067
LaGrange427491
Posey410044
Randolph3944107
Washington390956
Fountain375964
Fulton364874
Spencer362247
Starke355574
Owen353577
Sullivan348555
Orange331372
Jay331050
Rush309533
Carroll296239
Franklin292744
Perry290553
Vermillion283658
Tipton251167
Parke250130
Pike248644
Blackford222144
Pulaski210359
Newton182452
Brown177550
Crawford169129
Benton168417
Martin152120
Switzerland147612
Warren135816
Union122616
Ohio92413
Unassigned0595

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1717876

Reported Deaths: 26851
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1793291843
Cuyahoga1681592655
Hamilton1137721544
Montgomery805721405
Summit719531210
Lucas630291027
Butler56852814
Stark538501183
Lorain42330645
Warren35959417
Mahoning35798788
Lake32314501
Clermont31289369
Trumbull27344620
Delaware27206185
Licking26658344
Medina26042353
Fairfield24638287
Greene24378373
Clark22122390
Portage21257283
Richland21102342
Wood20128248
Allen18969326
Miami17338352
Columbiana16905335
Muskingum16726207
Wayne15740307
Tuscarawas14454362
Marion13332196
Ashtabula12732237
Erie12685199
Scioto12475188
Pickaway12260155
Ross11719226
Hancock11529175
Geauga10934179
Lawrence10653172
Belmont10459234
Huron9805159
Jefferson9632228
Union957375
Sandusky9348166
Seneca8917161
Knox8792176
Washington8688159
Darke8399181
Athens838197
Ashland8029152
Auglaize7943120
Shelby7511135
Defiance7358117
Crawford7281150
Fulton7215113
Brown7173116
Logan7003111
Guernsey696186
Mercer6933100
Highland6745120
Clinton6526106
Williams650099
Madison649790
Preble6274140
Putnam6244122
Jackson581597
Champaign580887
Perry566779
Coshocton5645108
Ottawa5641102
Morrow517765
Fayette494072
Hardin4895100
Gallia471478
Van Wert467895
Pike465578
Adams4592110
Henry434280
Hocking410193
Holmes3999141
Wyandot377675
Carroll366178
Paulding325451
Meigs305961
Monroe235961
Noble220349
Morgan216939
Harrison213153
Vinton187638
Unassigned06
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Saturday is looking great, with warmer temperatures, wet and windy conditions returning Sunday.
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