United States Capitol Building
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Should Members of Mob in Capitol Building Riot Be Permanently Banned From Airlines?

The international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO — which is a union that representing almost 50,000 flight attendants at 17 airlines — is calling on permanently banning those individuals who were involved in the mob which swarmed the Capitol building in the District of Columbia yesterday, Wednesday, January 6, 2021 from ever being able to fly as passengers aboard airplanes in the future.

Should Members of Mob in Capitol Building Riot Be Permanently Banned From Airlines?

According to this official statement called AFA Statement on Protecting Aviation Security Following Insurrection at Capitol from Sara Nelson, which was released yesterday after the incident occurred:

“Air travel is safe because everyone follows a strict set of rules, based on the spirit that ‘we’re all in this together.’ The mob mentality behavior that took place on several flights to the D.C. area yesterday was unacceptable and threatened the safety and security of every single person onboard. It will not happen again. There’s a reason that there are strict penalties and fines for failing to comply with crewmember instructions. Enforcement keeps everyone safe.

“Our first priority in aviation safety and security is to keep any problems on the ground. Some of the people who traveled in our planes yesterday participated in the insurrection at the Capitol today. Their violent and seditious actions at the Capitol today create further concern about their departure from the DC area. Acts against our democracy, our government, and the freedom we claim as Americans must disqualify these individuals from the freedom of flight.

“We in aviation have a serious role to play in national security. Airlines, in coordination with TSA, DHS, FAA, DOT and law enforcement must take all steps to ensure the safety and security of passengers and crew by keeping all problems on the ground.”

The TSA, DHS, FAA, DOT are the Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Department of Transportation — all of which are federal agencies of the United States.

“We have confirmed crew layovers have moved from downtown layovers. Check with your airline or AFA Local for updated safety and security information”, according to the aforementioned official statement. “We are taking a hard line for flight safety and we are encouraging airlines, government agencies, and law enforcement to help keep problems off our flights. It is important we maintain order and calm in our cabins — for safety and security immediately and for confidence in air safety among the traveling public.”

Members of flight crews are encouraged to “remain vigilant and command safe flights, always looking out for each other.” The union is working with airlines to confirm the safety of members of flight crews and provide members of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO and their families with support.

What Happened at the Capitol Building

As many as four people died — one woman was fatally shot by United States Capitol police and three other people died in what have been called medical emergencies — and damage to federal property occurred when a mob of hundreds of rioters forced the Senate and other lawmakers and individuals to evacuate the Capitol building yesterday to undisclosed locations. People who were mainly supporters of Donald Trump breached barricades to abruptly pause a ceremonial event which affirmed that President-elect Joe Biden won the November election, as they believe that Biden “stole” the office from the current president.

This message appeared at the official Twitter account of Kevin McCarthy — who represents the 23rd district in California as a Republican member of the House of Representatives:

“The violent mob responsible for this attack on the U.S. Capitol deserves the full consequences of their actions under the law.”

Additionally, individuals who instigated the violence of the incident are being sought by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

At least 68 people had already been arrested by the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia; while a minimum of 56 police officers were injured during the melee.

Muriel Bowser — who is the current mayor of the District of Columbia — ordered a 12-hour curfew in the city which began at 6:00 that evening.

Elaine Chao already submitted her resignation earlier today as the current secretary of the Department of Transportation of the United States to be effective as of January 11, 2021; and an increasing number of other administration officials have officially announced their resignations — as well as the chief of the Capitol Police for failing to adequately protect the Capitol building from the mob.

Joseph Biden was named as the winner of the 2020 presidential election this morning, Thursday, January 7, 2021, as confirmation of the results of the Electoral College by members of Congress. At the time this article was written, Donald Trump has yet to officially concede to Biden, claiming that he actually won the election back in November of 2020.


Calls of invoking the 25th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States have been increasing for the vice president and a majority of the cabinet of Donald Trump to remove him from office if they determine that he is unfit to continue in his official capacity as president of the United States — as well as a growing movement once again for his impeachment. With only 12 days remaining in his term as president of the United States, either action would mostly be symbolic, with the latter doing little more than wasting the money of taxpayers, in my opinion.

I can understand why Sara Nelson feels staunchly about her position in this matter, as incidents occurred aboard airplanes during flights prior to what happened at the Capitol building — but I prefer prosecuting the instigators to the fullest extent of the law instead of airlines simply banning them from being passengers aboard airplanes on future flights. This includes Donald Trump himself if he is officially found guilty.

What I do not understand is where was the outrage by Sara Nelson when a minority of rioters instigated violence during the Black Lives Matter movement last year — especially when incidents allegedly did occur as well aboard airplanes during flights — but I have yet to find any mention of the outrage at the official Internet web site of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO. I did find statements in support of the movement here and here.

I still maintain my position that the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic — and the unreasonable demands which have been placed upon people, which includes but is not limited to long periods of quarantine and isolation — is at least partially responsible for the unrest in general in the United States and parts of the rest of the world.

By all means, people should be allowed to peacefully protest about any issue in which they deem passionate — in fact, they have a right to do so in the United States as protected by its Constitution — but violence and destruction of property is inexcusable and unnecessary…

…no matter what is the issue.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

  1. It would be hard for them to fly again if they were put in prison for life which is where they belong.

    I agree with you when you speak about the lack of outrage after the BLM riots.

    Another point to note is that the expression “take back the country” is one that the President has been using since before his 2016 win. For the media to say that this was inciting a storming of the Capitol is just one more example of truth modification that we are all used to by now (although thankfully it never happens here in the Gate by Brian Cohen). It’s kind of old to hear the same impeachment droning, and so ridiculous when he’s not going to be President for much longer. I was hoping that at least one good thing would come out of his defeat, which is and end to the constant complaining about him, but now it looks like even that will continue after January 20th.

    By the way, I did read that he had conceded.

  2. Due process please, not arbitrary bans. Support the Bill of Rights if you want to defend democracy.

    By the way the offenders could face 10 years due to a Trump executive order last year.

  3. Yesterday’s violent attack on our country’s Capital Building by an angry mob was reprehensible… every single person who took part in the riots should be prosecuted for their crimes. It would be senseless to suggest otherwise. But to call out the parties responsible for that event above all other criminals for special flight restrictions is inane. Furthermore, it leans toward outright pandering to openly support the actions of the rioters who chose to burn and loot our cities last summer while condemning the rioters who stormed our capital this week… both violent groups are an embarrassment to peaceful protestors of all movements. When a group chooses to unfairly apply basic standards of decency, the entire message loses credence.

    Restricting flight access to passengers – regardless of who they support – who are actively belligerent or dangerous is reasonable. No one expects flight attendants, pilots, or fellow passengers to deal with that kind of abuse. But the statement from the union above is heavy-handed and unnecessary.

    As for President Trump, Rudy Guiliani, and others who spoke what could be considered rally cries for this attack… I doubt they truly expected this action to take place but they were careless with their words. Tempers are running high on all sides and senseless rhetoric simply has no place as so many are far too overwrought to apply common sense before acting irrationally.

    The current presidency has reached a point, fairly or not, where it cannot govern with any civility. The term ends in less than two weeks… if everyone would just keep their heads down and their mouth shut, we would all be better off. Our country does not need more talk of impeachment or premature removal from office or rejecting the upcoming inauguration. For goodness sake… try to be grown-ups!

  4. Congress counting the electoral votes is not “ceremonial event” as you call it. It’s required by law and an essential part of how we elect a president, even if by the time the process reaches this step the result is a foregone conclusion.

  5. This is such as disappointing post from a typically very mature and thoughtful blog. Directing social, political and moral norms through corporate policy is such a horrible idea that is serving the US so poorly. Delivering a superior flight experience in no way qualifies an organization to make and implement social policy, no matter how well intentioned. No matter how broken civic and government administration may seem at a given moment, those are the institutions for establishing society’s rules of game. In banning one group will we simply create the Fox News of airlines? Nobody needs that.

  6. Gonna have to submit the question in the title of this post for the “dumbest/most partisanly stupid question of the year” sweepstakes. Months of nightly BLM/Antifa mobs looting and literally burning down private businesses and threatening police/fire personnel, citizens and property and hardly a blink or a notice from the left, let alone hand wringing about not letting BLM/Antifa members fly. The partisan derangement is off the charts on this one. A bunch of loony Trump supporters force their way into the capitol and commit the horrific crime of “abruptly pausing a ceremonial event” and the left pretend they’ve never seen such horrific behavior and of course EVERY Trump supporter is equally loony and guilty. Of course the violent BLM/Antifa/loony lefties are NOT typical of the Left. Don’t be ridiculous. lol. The hypocrisy and partisan idiocy and faux-outrage is off the charts over “abruptly pausing a ceremonial event”. But when the Lefty outrage meter is ALWAYS dialed up to 11 they have to do something to ratchet that meter up even more. All you can do is sit back and marvel that people can be so politically disgusting.
    Thanks for helping to ratchet up the derangement out there, Brian, by spreading this bit of “news” and pretending it’s anything other than pure political partisan insanity.
    But what’s truly insane is that any sane person knows full well that if Trump had won the election, BLM/Antifa and most all other Biden supporters (lefties) would literally be burning down this nation and the media would be ignoring or if forced to cover it, excusing/justifying every bit of violence. And we don’t have to imagine, because that’s EXACTLY what they’ve been doing on behalf of all the BLM/Antifa/Biden supporters’ violence this last year. But a few crazy Trumpers abruptly pause a ceremonial even and there’s hell to pay! Laughable.

  7. So a murderer is allowed to fly but either a peaceful demonstrator or someone who ransacked an office in the Capitol is not?

    The AFA, United, Delta, ALPA or others are not the court system. Do we also want to ban from flights anyone with a criminal record, has driven 30 mph over the speed limit, looked at porn before the age of 18, or been in a shouting match before? Or has ever used throwaway ticketing or hidden city ticketing? No.

    The outrage at the Capitol overrun is fine. Banning people without due process is not.

  8. I thought I could come to BoardingArea to escape the political drama.

    If you’re going to ban them then you should ban all those who have rioted in American cities over the last 6-7 months.

    The irony of rioting over police defunding then calling on the police to arrest these people is astounding.

  9. Absolutetly. What these perpetrators did are just unexcusable and should be penalised.
    First these people should be identified and be known all over the country. They should feel the anger and disgust of the nation. If possible they should lose their US citizenship and be thrown to military facilities like Guantanamo.
    For me these people are not Americans, they are the opposite of what this country was, is and will be !

  10. I agree with much of your blog post. I think this sort of “outrage” is targeted. Some have suggested that they didn’t say such things about past riots by other groups. I’d go further. Would they be saying this if the crowd as the capital HAD been BLM or Code Pink or…. I doubt it.

    I also think we need to be very careful with much of the hype coming out from the media this past week or so. Watch for statements like “some say” that means the media “says” or is what that person’s biased viewpoint “says”. I’ve never seen the media as bad at passing judgment and pushing various agendas as they are today. We can’t seem to just get the facts. Blame Trump, blame Biden, Blame BLM, Blame Trump voters. It’s dangerous. It divides us and they seem to love it. It’s like a crowd showing up to a car crash. The media is standing there saying things like “well it was a Trump voter so that’s why they hit that tree, we had warned people of the dangers of driving” while pouring gasoline on the car fire. Then the FA union shows up to tells us how all bad drivers should be banned for life because they are killing the planet with the damage to such trees. It’s all hype and political at this point. Why do you think so many inside the beltway life term Republicans are throwing Trump and his supporters under the bus today. They fear for their political careers, not the country or the people.

    In the travel world, Rick Steve’s loves to use certain colorful terms to describe travel and history. One of his best is “One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter”. That’s not totally accurate with the events at the capital building but not far off. We can let this event divide us further or not. President Biden has a big job ahead of him to heal a nation that has been ripped apart since about the time of the Ferguson riots. I pray for his success.

    1. Nice reply. I pray for his success but only in the areas where he should have success. Some of his agenda is troubling. Hopefully the makeup of the Senate is still sufficient to keep him and his VP in check even though that got harder this week.

    2. Yes! DaninMCI We are all being played… keeping us all up in arms and attacking one another instead of seeing the corruption happening all around us from all sides. And people just blindly following the commercial media outlet of their choice for the next “issue” about which they are to be outraged.

      We are better than this! After the chaos of last summer, I thought our nation would find a way to work together, I was wrong. Maybe this ordeal will be enough for people to come together as humans?

      Many of President-elect Biden’s suggested agenda items do not feel like they will take us toward reconciliation – I hope I am wrong. I hope someone will eventually recognize that our nation must operate as a combined effort. Common sense, common decency, rational thought will surely prevail at some point?!

  11. The individuals who crossed the threshold of the US Capitol became insurgents the moment they did so. Their ability to fly should be restricted to a direct flight to the Federal Penitentiary where they spend the remainder of their pathetic lives.
    Therefore, a moot point.

    1. So we want flight attendants to adjudicate crimes now?! Are you serious????

      Forget the criminal justice system. Forget legal avenues. If a flight attendant says they are dangerous, take action! They may serve an excellent purpose in their chosen field… they have no business being the decider of guilt or innocence not do they have any business deciding who flies!

      Next, we will let the kids at McDonald’s decide who gets to order cheap hamburgers? Or maybe the cashiers at the grocery store decide who is allowed to purchase groceries – based solely on the opinions of the staff? Yeah, no problems there.

  12. Mob Rule is the order of 2020 and beyond.

    We don’t live in a Republic anymore, this is Authoritarian Democracy.
    ‘If you don’t agree with us, we will send you to prison’
    ‘If you protest against our side, we will ban you from flying’

    No one said a word this summer when our country was ransacked.
    It’s only if you are on the side of the majority that your voice is allowed.

    Dissent? Not tolerated.
    Ban them, cancel them, imprison them.

    We are witnessing the tyranny of the majority, that our founders so desperately sought to avoid….

    1. I did not ask that specific question this past summer because it was not brought up by an entity which is associated with travel, John Sousa

      …but that does not mean that that was not on my mind. I did not write about when the protests last year became violent because I was unable to remotely connect what was going on with travel; and fewer people were traveling back then anyway.

      I did refer to it towards the end of this article, though…

  13. “Acts against our democracy, our government, and the freedom we claim as Americans must disqualify these individuals from the freedom of flight.” So what are we to do with Governors like Whitmer and Evans who acted without legal authority against “the freedom we claim as Americans?”

    …Michigan’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lacks the authority to extend or declare states of emergency in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic….

    …Wisconsin’s supreme court overturn of the stay-at-home order allows the administration of Gov. Tony Evers to issue orders, but only with legislative approval….

    We already have laws to deal with the Capitol mob. We need no non-legislative actors gaming our legal system or our voting system. (Texas v Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, State of Georgia, State of Michigan and State of state of Wisconsin).

  14. People say BLM protesters were treated unfairly but no signs of discussion for a flight ban or news articles of protesters identified and fired. No outrage for Ashli Babbit being shot and killed by the police. Still, that riot was bad.

  15. You are correct, unions will never be able to outright ban anyone from flying. However, the point missed by everyone seems to be that private corporations can withhold service from customers who don’t fit their business model.

    I date myself, but several actors were banned from flying my airline after embarrassing themselves in front of other passengers. In this case, Pan Am felt the many other paying customers deserved a better experience. In other words, throwing a fit in FICL or the gate area didn’t fit our business model.

    As a former flight attendant, I never felt that I had the power or authority to get anyone banned from travel, but I would confidently express my opinions to the union which then, in turn, would relay them to the corporation. While the flight crew has way more power now than I ever had, I feel assured that Delta, Southwest, United, etc. doesn’t want to take this action frivolously without thoughtful consideration based on safety and revenue generation.

    All that said, we live in a country where corporations are treated like people in some instances and can make decisions that suit their needs. To all our current president supporters, you and the Republican Party have strived to make this happen when serving outwardly LGBTQ people. It’s the same difference. Haven’t shoes and shirts been required in restaurants for decades?

    All that said, every time I buy an airline ticket I stand the chance of being banned from my flight. Perhaps I refuse to wear a mask today, perhaps my pet llama that I’m using for emotional support won’t fit under the seat, or maybe, just maybe I am a domestic terrorist that has stormed the Capitol.

    I don’t see where the confusion arises.

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