January 4th, 2009
03:39 PM ET
12 years ago

Transition to Power: Obama flying 'Air Force One' backup

President-elect Barack Obama is now flying a U.S. military 757 like the one pictured above.

President-elect Barack Obama is now flying a U.S. military 757 like the one pictured above.

CHICAGO (CNN) - In a sign of just how close he is to formally taking the reigns of power, President-elect Barack Obama is no longer flying commercial.

Reporters arriving at Midway Airport for Mr. Obama's afternoon flight to Washington were greeted by an Air Force 757 with a crew wearing jackets that say "Air Force One" in script on the front.

Obama aides say this is the first time as President-elect that he is flying a military jet that is in the rotation to be used as Air Force One, though it is technically never called "Air Force One" unless the current president is flying on it.

The transition team chartered a plane from United Airlines for the President-elect's recent holiday vacation to Hawaii, so Sunday's flight marks yet another sign of the transfer of power.

Layne Hoppman, an Air Force security official, said the plane Mr. Obama is flying Sunday is used as Air Force One when one of the two planes currently at President Bush's disposal is in service.

He noted that the plane, which was rolled out around 1998, is also occasionally used by the sitting Vice President, First Lady, Members of Congress or military officials using Andrews Air Force Base.

"It's the workhorse of Andrews," said Hoppman.

Now it has another distinction: carrying the President-elect for his official move to Washington just over two weeks before his historic swearing-in.

As for Mr. Obama, from here on out he doesn't have to worry about taking off his shoes at security lines or missing his connections - at least for the next four years.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. Luke Brown

    The closer Barack is to being the President, the better our country is. If he is taking AF One ... that is a step closer in my mind.

    January 4, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  2. strong

    The way Obama has been acting since Nov. 4, you think he was already the president 100%. Barack is obviously very keen since the election, and we will see what he can and cannot do, as time goes on. I am lukewarm optimistic about him.

    January 4, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  3. Jan Illinois

    The way that Bush is acting at this time, there is no President in charge. On second thought he never had us as first in his mind ever. Prosecution is in order.

    January 4, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  4. Meka

    America, needs to protect President-elect Obama. And America needs to Pray, Support, and truly wish him well . . . as he takes on the Worlds Issue's !

    January 4, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. Meka

    And be THANKFUL, that President-elect Obama--Has the "Experience", of one being a "COMMUNITY ORGANIZER" !

    January 4, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. Brad/San Diego

    It's about time, he is the next President , and bush should show a little more respect then he has. I can't wait untill he is gone for good, and we don't have to hear from again.

    January 4, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. arivera

    President elect Obama could not take over soon enough as far as I am concerned. The current president and his utter hatred for fellow Americans that don't side with his radical agenda and ideology will be what he is truly remembered for. Tearing the country in two and saying a win for the democrats is a win for the terrorists along with Dick Cheney saying all democrats are cowards are what I will remember these evil men for.

    January 4, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. John Hay

    Now America can begin again.

    Best of luck Barack

    All the best from Australia


    January 4, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. foreigner in the US

    Good for him. I hope they show every thing live as it happens.

    January 4, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. BB

    He he he – Probably the same plane that will take Bushie and wife to Dallas in just 16 days.


    January 4, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. Alan St Lois MO

    Hurry up JANUARY 20th LOL still plenty of time to start more illegaly wars and make terriost become the strongest organization in history. All those millions of people dead (women and CHILDREN) recuited millions to hate us down the road.

    January 4, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  12. Patriot

    Long live the President Elect! lol

    Bush should do America a favor and resign; since he's doing nothing of worth at home or abroad.
    But not the wild bush; he's intent on ruin America to the last day in Office.
    And worse of all, Americans seem willing to let this bull run wild in the china shop! Tsk Tsk.

    January 4, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. J. Wayne Johnson

    I am very prourd of President George Bush in providing this plane for the President-Elect, Barack H. Obama. This is America at it's best.

    J. Wayne Johnson

    January 4, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |

    Harry Reid is the worst man who ever breathed.

    January 4, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  15. Nganga,Austin TX

    And why was the plane not available when he flew to washington to meet Bush at the WH?

    January 4, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  16. Juan Grain

    Yo Hommie!!!
    Gettin down like a big dog on a flying hawg
    No more small time in a little jet
    Instead it's the big jet, it's the President!

    January 4, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  17. Proud American

    I think it's a crime that Bush is allowed to use air force one. He should be made to walk, or take grayhound. Why does Bush need AIR Force 1? know has invited him anywhere.

    January 4, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  18. Texas Teacher

    As the country lays bleeding from the Republican Rape of the Nation.... our hope for the future is on his way to DC. Praise God.... take over before it is completely too late, Mr. PE Obama!

    God bless Barack Obama and the United States of America!

    Repubs.... get back in your caves... your reign of terror is over!

    January 4, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  19. Greg

    I hardly consider his campaign's chartered plane "commercial." From what I saw, I don't think he had to go through security to board it during the campaign and was only flying with his advisors and press pool.

    January 4, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  20. Proud American

    I think the transition team might want to have someone check this plane out. I do not trust Idiot republicans.

    January 4, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. Texas Teacher

    January 4th, 2009 4:57 pm ET

    I am very prourd of President George Bush in providing this plane for the President-Elect, Barack H. Obama. This is America at it's best.

    J. Wayne Johnson
    I doubt seriously that he had anything to do with it! This is probably protocol as ususal. Just like the PE cannot use Blair House until Bush and cronies are done with it! Protocol! Ah, well... only a little over 2 weeks!

    January 4, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  22. Proud American

    I hear that Cheney is giving Bush a piggy back ride back to Texas.

    January 4, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  23. Sue Ellen Stamp

    I'm just thrilled! President Elect Obama is one step closer to the real thing, and it's almost too good to be true! What a way to make his move to Washington! SES

    January 4, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  24. TexAnnie *-*-*-*-*

    I'm waiting to see if Dick Cheney even shows up at the Inauguration on Jan. 20th. The creep has totally disappeared from sight... but he still draws a nice fat paycheck (and will for the rest of his miserable life). He is just disgusting enough that he would probably skip the inauguration to show us he can thumb his nose one more time.

    Or who knows, maybe he's been six feet under the last couple of months and it was kept a secret.....

    January 4, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  25. Brandon4Hillary

    Hmm wonder if there will be any -problems- with this plane,

    January 4, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
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