Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience…
Alaska Airlines is to implement the same security tactics that the Israeli security services use to guard against terrorist attack on its flights to and from Washington D.C. ahead of the Presidential inauguration on January 20. The dramatic security precautions are being introduced as U.S. airlines work with federal and local law enforcement officials to prevent protestors and violent extremists disrupting the democratic process.
On Thursday, Alaska Airlines said it would immediately introduce at least seven new security precautions on all of its flights to and from the Washington D.C. metro area ahead of inauguration day.
One of those measures, which requires all passengers to remain seated and buckled up for at least an hour before landing, comes straight out of the playbook of Israeli security precautions to prevent Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas hijacking a passenger plane and either taking hostages or crashing a jet into a densely populated residential area.
Israel’s Transport Ministry first introduced its 30-minute seat belt policy in 2008 in response to an increased terror threat from Hezbollah. At the time, one source said the measure was specifically introduced to prevent “hijackers storming the cockpit in the final approach”.
Alaska Airlines will, however, take the measure even further, ordering passengers to remain seated and buckled up for at least an hour before landing into a Washington D.C area airports or after takeoff.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Alaska simply said of the new measures: “We are temporarily implementing additional safety measures focused on keeping our guests and employees safe, as well as working closely with the industry, FAA, TSA, law enforcement and others.”
“We appreciate all that law enforcement and our crews are doing to ensure travel remains safe and respectful,” a spokesperson continued.
Alaska has also copied Delta Air Lines in banning firearms in checked luggage on flights to Washington D.C. Within hours of Delta chief executive Ed Bastian announcing the measure, both United and Southwest said it would also ban checked firearms on flights to Washington D.C.
In addition, other security measures Alaska Airlines is introducing include:
- Increased face mask enforcement
- Limiting ticket sales on Washington D.C. bound flights
- Extra personnel to ensure compliance with rules
Alaska said it would be monitoring all D.C. flights from a dedicated command center where staffers will monitor flights through every stage of the journey. If necessary, the airline said it had plans in place for emergency flight diversions should the need to arise.
Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience at a major Middle East and European airline. Mateusz is passionate about the aviation industry and helping aspiring flight attendants achieve their dreams. Cabin crew recruitment can be tough, ultra-competitive and just a little bit confusing - Mateusz has been there and done that. He's got the low down on what really works.