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Hillary Clinton Flies Commercial During Campaign, But Still Shielded From Public

Clinton has been flying commercial while she crisscrosses the country, although security concerns have kept her insulted from other passengers.

CHICAGO — Hillary Clinton has traded private jets for seats on commercial airlines as she embarks on her second, humbler presidential run. But even in this relatively more democratic mode of transit, the former secretary of state is mostly kept apart from the everyday Americans her campaign wants to champion.

Clinton does not fly the commercial the way you fly commercial. Thanks to strict security concerns, Clinton is insulated from the public from the moment she arrives at one airport to the time she leaves the second one. And even when trapped in a metal tube in the sky with fellow passengers, there are few opportunities for public interaction.

While the insulation is largely outside of Clinton’s control and determined by the Secret Service, it underscores the logistical difficulties Clinton will have in connecting with ordinary voters on her second campaign.

On Tuesday afternoon in Dubuque, Iowa, a few dozen passengers waited for their routine American Airlines flight to Chicago, one of only three flights scheduled from the tiny airport that day. Suddenly, a small motorcade pulled up, just outside the floor-to-ceiling windows that separate the airport’s only gate from the tarmac.

Secret Service agents piled out, followed by aides. And then Hillary Clinton emerged from a red minivan. On the tarmac, she shook hands and chatted with a woman in a red jacket and her campaign’s state director. Inside, passengers rushed to the windows and raised their smartphones to snap pictures.

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— Alex Seitz-Wald