American Airlines Steps Up Staffing, Bans Alcohol on Flights From D.C. Following Riot at U.S. Capitol

American Airlines plane

U.S. airlines are taking precautionary measures for flights departing from the Washington D.C. area after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday in an effort to disrupt the counting and certification of the electoral college results.

American Airlines will cease serving alcohol on flights to and from the area, CNN reported, after crews were forced to deal with passengers showing "politically motivated aggression" on flights to the nation's capital prior to the riot. 

American has also increased staff at Washington-area airports, Reuters reported.

"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," an American spokesman told Travel + Leisure on Wednesday and confirmed that they are not selling alcohol on flights to and from the area through Thursday.

For its part, Delta Air Lines told the wire service it was working with law enforcement and airport agencies in the aftermath of the riots. A spokeswoman for Delta did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Travel + Leisure seeking details of these measures.

The airlines' actions came as Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, called for a ban on anyone who participated in the riot from flying on commercial flights. On Wednesday, some airlines started moving their flight crews to hotels outside of the central Washington, D.C. area, CNBC reported.

"The mob mentality behavior that took place on several flights to the D.C. area yesterday was unacceptable and threatened the safety and security of every single person on board," Nelson told Reuters. "Acts against our democracy, our government and the freedom we claim as Americans must disqualify these individuals from the freedom of flight."

Roger Dow, the president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, blasted the "chaos and mayhem" in a statement provided to T+L.

"We are profoundly heartbroken by the disturbing actions at the U.S. Capitol that are being viewed around the world," he said. "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."

During the time of the November election, searches for trips to Washington D.C. had seen a significant spike, according to a study by travel site Expedia.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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