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Grounded
January 17, 2019

President Trump may want House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to fly commercial, but first lady Melania Trump certainly doesn't have to.

After the speaker suggested she might rescind her invitation for Trump to deliver the State of the Union address, the president promptly shelved what he called her "public relations" trip to "Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan" scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Members of Congress usually use Air Force One for these trips.

Air Force One still took off that afternoon, but it didn't head overseas, Politico's Jake Sherman and aircraft-watching CivMilAir tweeted. It was using code that typically means the first lady is onboard, and it was headed for Mar-a-Lago's city of Palm Beach, Florida.

Pelosi hadn't announced her Congressional Delegation, or codel, trip before Trump issued the letter, in which he encouraged her to either "negotiat[e] with him" about the ongoing government shutdown or take a commercial flight to Afghanistan. Pelosi responded by saying her codel was stopping in Brussels to meet with "top NATO commanders, U.S. military leaders and key allies." She was also headed to Afghanistan to meet with troops and "obtain critical national security and intelligence briefings," adding that a stop in Egypt was never part of the plan.

As NPR's Kelsey Snell pointed out, codels are usually not publicly announced for security reasons, making Trump's "flying commercial" suggestion useless. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 27, 2014

Harsh winter weather on the East Coast forced the cancelation of more than 700 flights on the day before Thanksgiving, one of the busiest travel days of the year. About 3,000 more flights were delayed, and more than 7,000 homes and businesses in the Northeast were left without power. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency and emergency speed restrictions on highways and other major roads. Connecticut alone reported at least 125 accidents on slippery snow-covered roads. Harold Maass

September 13, 2014

Air France said today it will reduce its Monday flights by about 50 percent, in anticipation of company pilots' week-long strike.

"We ask (the passengers), if possible, to change their tickets to avoid this period, which is a little uncertain," Francois Gagey, Air France's chief executive, said. Gagey added that the strike will cost Europe's second-largest airline millions each day.

Pilots are striking over Air France's plan to expand "Transavia," a discount unit that aims to compete with lower-cost Middle East carriers. The pilots' union is upset over the company's refusal to honor identical labor contracts for employees who could be transferred to the budget airline. Sarah Eberspacher

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