The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and a handful of airlines are tightening security measures ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. The changes were announced in response to the riots at that Capitol that left five dead.
Hundreds of people attempting to fly into the Washington, D.C. metro area will face extensive scrutiny. TSA is administering risk assessments on hundreds of people looking to be in the nation's capital or surrounding area during Biden's inauguration. Some will be banned from flying entirely, The Washington Post reported.
“Our intelligence and vetting professionals are working diligently around-the-clock to ensure those who may pose a threat to our aviation sector undergo enhanced screening or are prevented from boarding an aircraft,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in a statement.
Heightened security will include more law enforcement officers and bomb-sniffing dog at Ronald Reagan National and Dulles International airports in the D.C. area. Additional U.S. air marshals will be deployed on more flights and busy railroad transportation hubs in the coming days.
According to USA Today, Delta, United, American, Southwest, Frontier, Spirit and Alaska Airlines decided to suspend passengers' ability to travel with firearms in checked bags until after Wednesday. That is only being applied to flights into and out-of the Washington, D.C. metro area, the Wall Street Journal reported.
American Airlines is taking things a step further and suspending all alcohol sales between Jan. 16 and 21st. Those flying coach were already prohibited from ordering alcohol due to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
Alaska Airlines plans to limit the number of tickets that are sold for flights into and out-of D.C. Passengers will also be required to stay in their seat one hour before take-off if departing from D.C. or one hour before landing if arriving in D.C.
The FAA will also have a zero tolerance policy for any disturbances taking place during flights. Instead of issuing warnings for "threatening or violent behavior," the agency will pursue legal action. Any passenger who assaults, threatens, intimates, or interferes with crew members' ability to do their job will face legal action. Those violations could result in a $35,000 fine and a referral for criminal fines or jail time.