Major airlines ban checked firearms to DC ahead of inauguration

Jan 14, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

At least four major airlines will not allow travelers flying to Washington, D.C.-area airports to travel with firearms in their checked luggage around the inauguration.

Delta Air Lines was first to announce such a move on Thursday morning before being joined later in the day by Alaska Airlines, American and United. The carriers are also implementing other temporary restrictions on flights to the big airports serving the greater D.C. area.

Sign up to receive the daily TPG newsletter for more travel news!

Delta CEO Ed Bastian told CNBC on Thursday that the airline made the decision in light of last week’s violent raid on the Capitol. The FBI has warned that more attacks are planned in the lead up to and around the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

“We’re all on high alert based on the events over the last couple of weeks in Washington,” Bastian said.

Delta’s temporary policy comes into effect on Jan. 16 and will run through Jan. 23. It will only apply to flights to three primary Washington-area airports — Dulles International (IAD), Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) — as well as to nearby Richmond, Virginia (RIC). Members of law enforcement who are carrying an authorized firearm as part of their job will be exempt from the ban.

Related: No-fly lists, security crackdown: Chaos in DC leads to big changes in travel ahead of the inauguration

“Weighing the violence we witnessed in the Capitol last week alongside our unwavering commitment to the safety of customers and our people, Delta will not allow firearms in checked baggage for flights into the D.C. area Saturday, Jan. 16 through Saturday, Jan. 23, with the exception of credentialed law enforcement,” a Delta spokesperson said. “Customers needing to change travel due [to] this policy or requests from officials asking people not to travel to the inauguration, can do so using our flexible change policy. Nothing is more important than doing our part to keep people safe.”

United implemented a similar policy, also running from Jan. 16 through Jan. 23, for the same four airports. Additionally, it will have crew members overnight away from downtown Washington during the period and will increase staffing at the airports “to supplement our frontline teams in remaining vigilant.”

United also reminded flyers of its mask requirements, noting that it added 60 flyers to its no-fly list just last week because of mask-related infractions.

Alaska Airlines’ changes around the inauguration will begin Friday (Jan. 15) and will cover DCA, IAD and BWI airports. Alaska Airlines does not fly to Richmond. Alaska also will boost staff at those airports, highlight enforcement of mask policies and require all passengers on flights to or from those airports to remain in their seats for one hour after takeoff and again before landing.

Further, Alaska said that “to support law enforcement’s calls to avoid travel to the area, we will limit the number of tickets purchased on flights to and from the D.C. metro area.” Alaska did not specify when the temporary measures would end for its D.C.-area flights.

American also will ban checked guns, the Associated Press reported, and is restricting alcohol among its temporary restrictions on flights to the nation’s capital.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, as well as Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, have told visitors they should not travel to the D.C. metro area for the inauguration.

On Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it’s cracking down on violent, unruly passengers. It said it was making the move following “a disturbing increase in incidents where airline passengers have disrupted flights with threatening or violent behavior.”

Also on Wednesday, Airbnb and its subsidiary HotelTonight announced they would be canceling and blocking all reservations in the D.C. metro area for the inauguration.

The FBI is warning of right-wing extremist groups organizing potential attacks on Washington, D.C., and statues and federal buildings across the country.

Additional reporting by Ben Mutzabaugh, TPG.

Featured photo by Andy Dunaway/USAF via Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.