Alaska Airlines to Require Passengers on Washington, D.C. Flights to Remain Seated for an Hour After Takeoff and Before Landing

Alaska Airlines plane

Alaska Airlines is stepping up mask enforcement and adding new security measures on flights to and from the Washington, D.C. area ahead of Joe Biden's presidential inauguration next week. 

Among the new rules: Passengers on Washington, D.C. flights must remain seated for the first hour after takeoff and for one hour before landing. The airline also said it is limiting ticket sales on flights into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Dulles International Airport, and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport; banning firearms from check-in luggage to these airports; and stepping up mask enforcement efforts — both on the ground and in the air. 

Typically, airlines allow passengers to check unloaded firearms, as long as they're locked inside a hard-side container. 

"We will have a dedicated command center to monitor every phase of the journey — check-in, boarding, taxi, climb, cruise, descent, and arrival — to ensure compliance and allow us to quickly respond to and resolve any incidents," Alaska Airlines said in a statement. "We appreciate all that law enforcement and our crews are doing to ensure travel remains safe and respectful."

In the statement, Alaska Airlines also specified that it has plans in place to divert flights or turn them around if necessary. The airline has already banned more than 300 people from its flights for violating rules. 

Alaska Airlines currently operates 31 flights a week to Washington, D.C. from Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. It described the latest measures, which went into effect on Jan. 15, as temporary. 

Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets, and walking on beaches. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

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