Alaska Airlines is under pressure to permanently ban 14 maskless, disruptive passengers who flew from Washington D.C. to Seattle on Thursday night following violent protests that saw a mob break into and lay siege to the Capitol. The passengers now risk being placed on a ‘no-fly’ list with little to no chance of ever being allowed to fly with Alaska Airlines again.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Seattle-based airline said the behavior of some of the passengers on Thursday evening’s flight was “unacceptable” and that Alaska Airlines would “not tolerate any disturbance onboard our aircraft or at any of the airports we serve.”
Sources claim at least 14 passengers refused to wear face masks for the majority of the flight, became rowdy and argumentative and harassed flight attendants who were working to keep the flight safe.
Similar scenes played out on a number of flights that were headed to Washington D.C. in the run-up to a Trump rally turned riot on Wednesday. On one Delta Air Lines flight, maskless Trump supporters ignored flight crew instructions as they repeatedly shouted “Traitor!” at Senator Ted Cruz.
There were also nasty scenes on several American Airlines flights to the capital, prompting the airline to ban the service of alcohol on flights to and from Washington D.C. in the run-up to the Presidential inauguration on January 20. The airline also said it was deploying extra resources to airports across the country to see off problems on the ground.
“Over the past few days, a number of our Airport teams and flight crew have had to manage tense situations, including onboard, and we applaud their professionalism and leadership in doing so,” American Airlines chief executive Doug Parker told staffers in a memo on Thursday.
“We cannot look at yesterday without acknowledging that for our Black colleagues, the unrest and treatment of the rioters was especially painful to watch,” Parker continued. “This is another example of the progress that still needs to be made in the pursuit of equality and justice for all Americans”.
The charged memo continued: “We recognize the disparity in how other protestors have been treated, and our commitment to help make meaningful change within our company and our communities is reinforced and strengthened.”
In a separate development, the House Homeland Security Committee called on the TSA and FBI to place anyone who was identified as being involved in the invasion of the Capitol building onto a central No-Fly list that would bar them from travel on any airline.
The Association of Flight Attendants, which represents crew at Alaska Airlines, sounded the alarm on Wednesday night saying the “seditious actions” of those involved in the riot “create further concern about their departure from the DC area”.
A spokesperson for the Port of Seattle police department said officers were put on standby to meet the plane involved in Thursday night’s incident but no action was taken.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.