CABIN crew are being given self-defence classes to be able to handle dangerous passengers during a flight.
Passenger disruptions are on the rise, which means crew are being trained be able to defend themselves in the air.
Last year, 370 cases of disruptive passengers were reported, according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA),
However, trade body Airlines UK says the true number of incidents was closer to 4,000 – half of which were alcohol-related.
An anonymous flight attendant told Business Insider: “We’re trained to handle situations if the person needs to be restrained.”
An American Airlines flight attendant added: “We take self-defence training too”.
In 2018, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) introduced a new law which meant all flight crew could volunteer for self-defence training.
In the document, it explained: “The Administrator, in consultation with the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, shall continue to carry out and encourage increased participation by air carrier employees in the voluntary self-defence training program.”
The sponsored course called the Crew Member Self Defence Training (CMSDT) program consists of an eight-hour course which is open all current flight crew.
In a video released by the Association of Flight Attendants, one crew member explained how she had to deal with a passenger just a week before she did the training.
Flight attendant Gina Hernlem: “It just happened last week. It was their demeanour, their cold stare, getting into personal space and moving their shoulder in.”
Thankfully the situation was de-escalated before she had to defend herself – however other flight crew have been less lucky following a number of recent flight disruptions.
Yesterday, a plane made an emergency landing after a male passenger spat in his wife’s face and yelled at cabin crew.
Last week, a passenger was caught hitting her partner and screaming at him during a flight, before being kicked off a flight.
A woman who tried to storm the cockpit and threatened she would “kill you all” to people on the flight was forced from the plane and later fined £85,000 for the disruption.
What happens to disruptive passengers?
Passengers who ignore flight crew, or are rude and disruptive on a plane, could face severe consequences.
According to the CAA, bad behaviour can include being drunk, ignoring safety instructions or being abusive and violent to other people.
Being drunk on a plane can result in two years in prison and a fine of £5,000.
The maximum punishment for being disruptive can be up to £80,000 if the plane is forced to divert.
Passengers who come to the aid of flight crew during an altercation could be charged themselves with assault, a former Health and Safety crew member for Qantas warned.
Travellers should only get involved if requested by the crew.
Airlines are attempting to crack down on passenger incidents, many often due to drunk passengers, with airports selling duty-free alcohol in sealed bags which cannot be opened during a flight.