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Airlines boosting security as protesters leave DC after riots

Airlines boosting security as protesters leave DC after riots
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Airlines are beefing up safety precautions to prepare for protesters flying home from the Washington, D.C., area following chaos and rioting Wednesday on Capitol Hill. 

American Airlines said it is increasing staffing for area airports, including Reagan National, Dulles International and Baltimore Washington International. It is also eliminating alcohol from flights through Thursday evening. 

“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,” said spokesperson Stacy Day. “We have also increased staffing at D.C.-area airports as a precautionary measure and will not be serving alcohol in the first class cabin on flights to and from this area. We will continue to enforce policies that ensure our customers and team members safety and well-being.” 

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The carrier had already eliminated alcohol from the main cabin due to COVID-19.

President TrumpDonald TrumpVeteran accused in alleged border wall scheme faces new charges Arizona Republicans to brush off DOJ concern about election audit FEC drops investigation into Trump hush money payments MORE's supporters descended on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to protest the certification of the Electoral College vote affirming President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenAtlanta mayor won't run for reelection South Carolina governor to end pandemic unemployment benefits in June Airplane pollution set to soar with post-pandemic travel boom MORE's win.

Rioters breached the Capitol as the House and Senate were debating a Republican objection to the election results in Arizona. Lawmakers in both chambers were evacuated shortly afterward.

Incidents were also reported at airports as protesters headed to Washington before the riot. Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyCheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Florida's restrictive voting bill signed into law The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney MORE (R-Utah) on Tuesday was confronted by pro-Trump supporters at the airport in Salt Lake City and, once on his flight, was heckled.

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA International President Sara Nelson called incidents on flights to Washington “mob mentality behavior.”

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“It will not happen again. There’s a reason that there are strict penalties and fines for failing to comply with crewmember instructions. Enforcement keeps everyone safe,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Some of the people who traveled in our planes yesterday participated in the insurrection at the Capitol today," she added. "Their violent and seditious actions at the Capitol today create further concern about their departure from the DC area.” 

Delta Air Lines also said it is working with law enforcement agencies to ensure safety on flights but did not specify the measures it will take. 

“Delta continually works with law enforcement agencies and all aviation stakeholders to enact methods  both seen and unseen  as part of our unwavering efforts to keep everyone safe at our airports and on our flights,” the airline told USA Today.