American Airlines has reportedly suspended the sale and offering of alcohol on-board flights headed to or from Washington D.C.
The announcement comes directly after the events of January 6th, in which President Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol to protest the certification of President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory.
The protests which forced Government representatives to evacuate the building, led to four deaths and 52 arrests, while injuring over a dozen police officers.
Thousands of President Trump supporters from across the country traveled, many by air, to the capital to partake in the historic day of protest.
The ban of on-board alcohol for flights to and from the region by American Airlines is a measure taken to mitigate the possibility of disruptions during the departure of the protesters.
In addition to suspending the sale of alcohol, both American and United airlines have taken precautions for the exit of protesters, including increased staffing at airports.
Meanwhile, unions representing flight attendants are seeking the disqualification of the rioter’s freedom of flight.
Regarding the precautions, an American Airlines spokesperson stated to Fox news:
“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. We have also increased staffing at DC-area airports as a precautionary measure and will not be serving alcohol on flights to and from this area. We will continue to enforce policies that ensure our customers' and team members' safety and wellbeing.”
American Airlines had already previously suspended alcohol on domestic flights for all travelers, with the exception of First Class, due to the pandemic.
The airline has not yet conveyed when they will be ending the alcohol restrictions for Washington D.C., but have informed that they are closely monitoring the situation.
Altercations on Flights in Days Leading to Protest
On the days leading up to the protest, there have been reports of unruly passenger behavior on flights headed to Washington D.C.
Footage from inside an American Airlines flight, which landed at Washington’s Dulles International Airport, has been circulating online showing an altercation between Trump supporters and other passengers.
In a statement to the Associated Press regarding the incident, American Airlines Spokesman Curtis Blessing stated:
“We applaud our outstanding crew-members for their professionalism in de-escalating a tense onboard situation and getting our customers to their destination safely.”
Union for Flight Attendants Want Protesters Barred from Flights
Unions representing American flight attendants are calling for the refusal of flight service to Trump supporters which participated in the Capitol riots.
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA(AFA) International, representative body for nearly 50,000 flight attendants across 17 airlines, issued a statement calling for the disqualification of the freedom of flight for these individuals.
According to the statement:
“Some of the people who traveled in our planes yesterday participated in the insurrection at the Capitol today. 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.”
While the union seeks these measures, it would be difficult to manage and identify the individuals in question, although pictures released of rioters online has led to their identification, with some of them losing their employment.
US airlines have already banned over a thousand travelers for failing to comply with safety measures related to COVID-19, specifically refusing to wear masks.
Interfering with duties of a flight attendant is punishable by law and may lead to a maximum fine of $35,000.
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