Airlines step up safety measures after US Capitol riot

Hundreds of supporters of US President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in Washington DC hoping to overturn his election defeat

US airline union urges ban on protesters who stormed Capitol

An American Airlines pilot threatened to divert his plane and dump a group of pro-Trump passengers in Kansas if they didn't "behave" during their flight from Washington, DC, to Phoenix on Friday. Some of the people who traveled in our planes yesterday participated in the insurrection at the Capitol today.

Hobart, the spokesman for United, whose crews are represented by the union, said that the company echoed Nelson's statement and that its employees had been moved out of downtown Washington hotels since Monday.

But since Wednesday, U.S. airlines and law enforcement have increased security at the two big Washington-area airports.

Nelson added that the "first priority" when it comes to aviation safety is to ensure all problems remain on the ground, meaning the "violent and seditious actions" of some recent airline passengers should result in a disqualification from boarding.

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In a message to union members, the president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants said union leadership was aware of incidents on multiple flights headed to D.C.

In her statement, Nelson stressed that acts against American democracy such as these "must disqualify these individuals from the freedom of flight".

"To say I am anxious about our Flight Attendants' safety is an understatement", APFA President Julie Hedrick said in a statement. "Regardless of one's political beliefs, the cabin of a commercial aircraft must, out of necessity, be a calm environment for the safety of everyone onboard".

United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines said they were working closely with law enforcement agencies to keep people safe and would continue enforcing strict mask policies on flights.

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Nelson and the union endorsed President-elect Joe Biden over President Donald Trump before the November election.

Dickson said "unruly passenger behavior. can distract, disrupt and threaten crewmembers' ability to conduct their key safety functions".

Other airlines are also following suit.

But banning travelers who'd been involved in the violence would be "a Herculean task", he said. "I believe, again, that that's very hard to monitor".

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The four major airlines also said they have been in touch with law enforcement authorities and the Transportation Security Administration.

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