Vice presidents and the president have a long list of responsibilities, but flying on Air Force One isn’t one of them. The vice president and the president are not required to fly together, but they often do. In fact, there are a number of advantages to flying together. Vice presidents and presidents need to keep the country informed about their travels in case of an emergency. Usually, this information is relayed through the White House press secretary or a Secret Service spokesman. But what else do you need to know? Here are 10 facts about whether or not the president and vice president fly together and why they might want to in certain situations.
Do The President And Vice President Fly Together?
In the United States, the president and vice president fly together on aircraft provided by the United States Air Force. However, they do not travel together – they normally travel separately using different aircraft and different flight crews. This is because the president and vice president have separate official duties and there are security concerns with bringing both individuals together onto one aircraft.
Why Does The VP Fly With The President?
1. The VP is the President’s Escort
The VP is more than just a fellow protector of the president. If a threat to the president arises during an event, the VP serves as an escort through the crowd. If the situation escalates, the VP is prepared to step in and act as a shield, moving the president to a safe location. This role is especially important when traveling abroad. In this instance, the VP is expected to lead the president away from danger and to a secure location, as well as manage an appropriate response from local law enforcement. Though this role may seem unnecessary when you’re in your own country, the moment you travel to another land, protocol changes. The vice president is expected to escort the president through unfamiliar territory and be prepared for any unforeseen events, such as an irate crowd or a hostile group of citizens.
2. The VP Is On The Front Lines In Case of an Emergency
The VP is, first and foremost, prepared for an emergency. While it’s unlikely that the VP will be called into action, the office has a vice presidential emergency briefing binder on hand at all times. This briefcase is stocked with information on evacuation procedures, nuclear football, and other pertinent information in the event of a presidential emergency. The VP may be called on to address a sudden change in circumstances and act as a spokesperson for the president. The VP may be expected to deliver a speech in the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or another unforeseen catastrophe. The VP may also be asked to sign executive orders or other documents on the president’s behalf.
3. The VP Can Oversee Secret Service Activities
Ever wonder what happens to the president’s Secret Service agents when he travels out of the country? Well, we’ve got you covered. But first, let’s take a step back and take a look at what happens when the president is in the United States. The Secret Service detail for the president is managed by the Department of Homeland Security. This detail is made up of a special agent in charge, lieutenants, and agents responsible for the president’s safety. These agents work closely with the White House Communications Agency to coordinate presidential travel. When the president travels to a domestic destination, he is usually accompanied by around 100 agents. When traveling abroad, however, the president’s security detail is increased to around 400.
4. The VP Acts As A Liability When Traveling
After a presidential assassination attempt in 1933, Congress passed the Vice President Service Disability Act. This law states that if the vice president is injured or becomes ill in the line of duty, he will be given a monthly salary as if he were disabled. While the vice president is expected to be ready to fill in for the president at a moment’s notice, they’re also expected not to be a hindrance to the president’s job. While the vice president has access to the same level of security and transportation as the president, they also come with a hefty price tag. With an increased risk of travel, the government must allocate extra funds for security, transportation, and lodging for the vice president’s entourage. This is why, in the past, when traveling abroad, the VP has been expected to stay in affordable hotel chains and fly economy.
5. The VP Acts As a Chaperone During Travel
The VP is expected to maintain a professional relationship with the president. At all times, the vice president must be prepared to step into the role of president should it become necessary. This means that, while the president and vice president are traveling, they must remain on good terms, but they mustn’t let their friendship cross a professional line. This means that the vice president must act as a chaperone during travel. The VP isn’t allowed to share a hotel room or travel to an event with the president. While it may seem like a silly rule, the VP is expected to maintain a professional relationship at all times. The constant travel can be stressful and tiring, and being ready at a moment’s notice requires a lot of energy. While the VP must remain professional during travel, they can also take advantage of the president’s private plane and rest in a comfortable seat without having to worry about who’s in the seat next to them.
How Often Do The President And Vice President Fly Together?
- It really depends on how much time the president and vice president spend together. There’s no set rule for determining how often they fly together. There were times when the president and vice president both flew to a location for a specific event at the same time.
- However, the vice president often remains in Washington to attend Senate meetings, give speeches, and visit constituents in their home states. When the president and vice president travel together, each has an entourage.
- The president has Secret Service, White House staff, and reporters, while the vice president has his own Secret Service detail and staff. The staff and reporters will work to coordinate logistics, such as the type of aircraft and seats, along with security details.
- The Secret Service is particularly important when the president and vice president travel together. The vice president will have his own detail, just as the president does. However, the Secret Service will set up a secure perimeter around the vice president.
When Does The VP Fly With The President?
- The vice president usually flies with the president on Air Force One when the president travels abroad. The vice president and the president do travel together when they go to events within the United States, such as the State of the Union.
- If the president is traveling domestically and the vice president won’t be nearby, the vice president may fly with the president on a designated replacement aircraft. This could happen if the president is traveling a long distance or if the president is scheduled to make stops along a route that requires multiple aircraft.
- If the president is traveling to an area where there’s a high risk of hijacking, the vice president may fly on a designated replacement aircraft. This could happen even if the vice president and president are flying in the same aircraft.
When Does The VP Stay On Ground?
- The vice president may stay on the ground if the president is traveling to a low-risk area. When the president travels abroad, Secret Service agents assess the security situation in each location and make recommendations for travel.
- The vice president usually travels with the president when the president goes to events in a foreign country. However, if the president travels to a low-risk area — such as traveling to Canada — the vice president may stay on the ground.
- If the president travels to an area that’s a high risk, the vice president will fly with the president. One example is when the president travels to a country that is considered a state sponsor of terrorism.
There have been many instances throughout US history where the president and vice president have been flying together and something has happened that requires the president to be available. These instances have required the president and vice president to have a quick and easy way of communicating with each other. And it is for these reasons that the president and vice president often travel on the same plane. With so much at stake, it’s important that the president and vice president are always prepared for whatever might come their way.