U.S. airlines step up staffing at DC-area airports after unrest

By Tracy Rucinski (Reuters) - United Airlines and American Airlines said they had boosted staffing at Washington-area airports and were working with law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety of travelers and crew following unrest in the U.S.

Reuters January 08, 2021 00:13:16 IST
U.S. airlines step up staffing at DC-area airports after unrest

US airlines step up staffing at DCarea airports after unrest

By Tracy Rucinski

(Reuters) - United Airlines and American Airlines said they had boosted staffing at Washington-area airports and were working with law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety of travelers and crew following unrest in the U.S. capital on Wednesday.

The moves follow reports of unruly passengers on flights into the D.C. area before supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol building, hoping to overturn his election defeat.

The protesters' actions prompted Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) representing workers at 17 airlines including United, to call for them to be barred from commercial flights out of the region.

"The mob mentality behavior that took place on several flights to the D.C. area (...) was unacceptable and threatened the safety and security of every single person on board," Nelson said in a statement late on Wednesday.

"Acts against our democracy, our government and the freedom we claim as Americans must disqualify these individuals from the freedom of flight," she said.

A United spokesman said on Thursday: "We echo the sentiments of AFA that our first priority must be the safety and security of our passengers and crew."

Delta Air Lines also said it was working with law enforcement agencies to keep people safe at airports and on flights.

The increased staffing by American, which is not serving alcohol on flights to and from the Washington area, is a "precautionary measure," a spokesman said.

Earlier this week, American and United moved their crews away from downtown D.C. hotels, they said.

The Transportation Security Administration, which has authority over U.S. travel security, said late Wednesday it had "multiple layers of security in place," without providing details for security reasons.

The head of the U.S. Travel Association, Roger Dow, condemned Wednesday's disruption.

"The behavior we are witnessing has no place in any peaceful democracy, much less in the country that is supposed to be the foremost example of democratic principles," he said.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Peter Cooney, Tom Hogue and Bernadette Baum)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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