In the United States, where more than 100 incidents of airplane violence were reported last week alone, flight attendants are taking self-defense classes to learn how to handle these difficult situations.
As a result of the slight decline in the epidemic, air travel in the United States is increasing, and so is the number of anxious, upset, frustrated passengers whose behavior is sometimes violent toward flight attendants. Some of them are therefore taking self-defense classes, reports CNN.
Last week alone, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration reported more than 100 cases of violent behavior against flight attendants, for a total of more than 3,600 this year.
“You get on a plane full of people and some of them are not very happy and you never know what’s going to happen,” a flight attendant who has taken self-defense training told the network.
This summer, hundreds of flight attendants will take courses launched by the agency in 2004 but recently suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Instructors prepare for the worst
The goal of these courses is to learn how to strike or subdue an aggressor and de-escalation techniques for handling difficult passengers. Skills that flight attendants hope never to use.
Yet instructors prepare them for even the worst by teaching them methods of last resort. “You may die. You have to defend yourself at all costs,” one of them tells CNN.
Passengers are already excited before boarding
Passengers are not aggressive only in the United States and only onboard planes. At Bologna Airport, a 77-year-old Belgian man traveling to Brussels assaulted a boarding attendant who had asked him to pay extra for his overweight carry-on bag.
The 70-year-old lost his temper and grabbed the employee by the hair before throwing her to the ground. He then punched her in the face.
In January, a dispute over the size of a carry-on bag that Spirit Airlines employees wanted to check escalated at the Detroit airport. A passenger lunged at one of them and knocked him over. He had to be hospitalized.
Some of the company’s employees don’t seem surprised, pointing out that this kind of fight happens frequently.