Delta Air Lines announced it will not accept firearms as checked baggage on flights bound for Washington, DC.
"We’re going to not allow anyone to check a firearm into any of the metro DC airports starting this weekend and carrying through the next week, unless you’re law enforcement and you’re authorized to be carrying one," CEO Ed Bastian said in an appearance on CNBC Thursday.
The measure is the latest attempt by airlines and government agencies to address concerns that the rioters who stormed the US Capitol last week may return for incoming President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Law enforcement agencies and the Transportation Security Administration have stepped up their efforts, including in some cases a second screening of DC bound passengers as CNN reported on Wednesday. American Airlines said it will suspend alcohol service on flights to and from the DC area around the inauguration.
"We’re all on high alert, based on the events over the past couple of weeks up in Washington," Bastian said. "We are doing an awful lot in terms of gathering information and talking to the intelligence agencies both federal and local as well as FAA and TSA. We’ve increased the amount of security, both at airports and in the skies, seen and unseen."
For context: Passengers, with a few law enforcement-related exceptions, are prohibited from carrying firearms, ammunition and other weapons onboard a plane. But the Transportation Security Administration does allow the transportation of an unloaded weapon in a locked and hard-sided container as checked baggage in a passenger plane belly.