Today, the White House announced President Obama’s Tuesday trip to Chicago for his farewell speech, and the subsequent return to Washington, will be his final flights on AF1 as POTUS.
But he gets one more complimentary trip after January 20th, as press secretary Josh Earnest told the White House press corps Monday afternoon:
“It is obviously tradition for the former president to take one last flight aboard the Presidential aircraft at the conclusion of the Inauguration.”
Here’s President George W. Bush departing Washington on Marine One, on his way to Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, after Barack Obama was sworn-in as President on Inauguration Day, January 2009:
Obama, too, will get a lift on Marine One to Air Force One on that final day of his presidency, but, unlike the Bush family, who were transported to their ranch in Texas, the Obamas are headed for vacation.
“That’s certainly what I would anticipate, yes. The president and first lady will be leaving town shortly after the Inaugural Ceremony. But they will return, of course, to their rented house in Washington, D.C.”
No official word where exactly the former first couple will be headed, but Obama told Oprah Winfrey during an interview last month that he was going to take Michelle Obama on a trip to a less wintry locale.
“We’re going someplace warm. See ya.”
And he’ll get to take Air Force One, a Boeing 747-200B series airplane, a massive, customized plane with more than 4,000 square feet of space and three levels. There are two galleys; one medical “office,” which can also be transformed into an operating room, if necessary; a full conference room; and specialized communications and anti-aircraft weaponry systems. It can also be refueled in mid-air, which means it can stay up as long as need be, in the case of emergency.
In June, Obama told a group of Air Force Academy graduates that he’d really miss flying on his private plane.
He also said the same to Ellen DeGeneres when he went on her show last February:
“I don’t miss flying commercial, taking your shoes off and all that.”
Might want to get used to it; come January 21st, it’s back to life as an everyday citizen.