In anticipation of potential unrest following the U.S. presidential election, United Airlines is moving flight attendants out of downtown areas of the country’s biggest cities.
On October 30, 2020, the Chicago-based airline sent a memo to its staff: “As we approach the 2020 presidential election, there is a possibility of renewed protest activity. We are taking precautionary measures to ensure your safety and suitable rest are met.”
Staff relocation began on Monday, November 2, 2020, and will last for one week. The affected cities include Seattle, Washington, Denver, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Portland.
United also announced plans to move its flight network operations center to a backup facility outside the downtown area in case protests would begin.
Other U.S. airlines, Delta and Southwest, have not yet moved their staff but said they are continuously monitoring the situation.
Summer and autumn were marked with some civil unrest in major cities following the death of George Floyd. During the often violent protests, airlines got used to changing their plans to protect their employees.
On October 27, 2020, American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) relocated its crew in Philadelphia to an airport location following the death of Walter Wallace Jr.