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Delta Airlines to ban checked firearms on DC flights for Biden inauguration

A Delta Airlines plane slid off a taxiway at the Kansas City International Airport early Friday morning, Jan. 17, 2020 in Kansas City, Mo. No injuries were reported and passengers were bused to the Delta gates at Terminal B, according to an airport official. (Jill Toyoshiba/The Kansas City Star/TNS)
January 14, 2021

Delta Airlines CEO announced the airline will begin banning Washington, D.C.-bound passengers from checking firearms this weekend in an effort to bolster security procedures in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

“We’re all on high alert based on the events over the last couple of weeks up in Washington,” CEO Ed Bastian said according to USA Today, noting that law enforcement officials will be exempt from the temporary restrictions.

In addition to the firearm ban, Delta will also increase other aspects of security in airports and on planes “as we look to the week ahead.”

While he was aware of recent incidents involving unruly passengers, the CEO said 99.99 percent of Delta’s customers “are really great and doing a good job.”

“I don’t want to overreact,” he said. “I think this is a moment hopefully in time with the outcry around the election results.”

Bastian said that he was “pleased” with President Trump’s speech calling for calm Wednesday, adding, “Hopefully that will help.”

After a protest turned violent at the U.S. Capitol last week, Delta and several other airlines beefed up security measures on flights departing from Washington, D.C.-area airports.

Despite the changes, airlines still faced disruptions, including 14 rowdy passengers who were banned by Alaska Airlines after a flight from Washington to Seattle.  

American Airlines also took note of the calls for increased security, bolstering their own in both airports and on planes. From January 16 to January 21, American will stop serving alcohol on flights arriving at and departing from D.C. and surrounding airports.  

American is even going a step further and relocating flight crews from their typical downtown hotels to locations closer to airports. In order to avoid shuttles, the airline will also provide private transportation between airports and hotels until January 24.

Curtis Blessing, a spokesman for American Airlines, said they will have new pre-flight announcements that include a reminder of “the importance of following crew member instructions.”

Recently, one top U.S. lawmaker urged authorities to put protesters who stormed the Capitol building on a no-fly list.

“Given the heinous domestic terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol yesterday, I am urging the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to use their authorities to add the names of all identified individuals involved in the attack to the federal No-Fly List and keep them off planes,” Democratic chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Bennie Thompson said in a statement.

“This should include all individuals identified as having entered the Capitol building—an intrusion which threatened the safety of Members of Congress and staff and served as an attack on our Nation,” Thompson added.