A Russian Airline is Training Flight Attendants in Martial Arts to Deal With Unruly Passengers
Here’s another reason travelers need to keep their cool on a flight.
Low-cost carrier Pobeda Airlines, a unit of Russia’s Aeroflot, says it will teach its employees judo and sambo, a Russian martial art, after a passenger at Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport started violently started swinging at a Pobeda employee after he missed his flight.
The airline’s chief executive Andrey Kalmykov told Russian newspaper Vedomosti (link in Russian) that the airline had been considering hiring private security guards but it would increase the cost of a ticket.
Passenger violence against airline employees are a major worry for airlines around the world. The International Air Transport Association says that 1,194 of the close to 11,000 reported incidents of unruly passengers in 2015 involved physical aggression against crew or fellow travelers.
Pobeda is not the first airline to offer training to fight off attackers, who can range from a drunk passenger to a hijacker. Hong Kong Airlines has taught its flight attendants kung fu. The US Transportation Security Administration offers a free self-defense course for US flight attendants taught by Federal Air Marshals. It has trained 11,000 flight attendants since it was launched in 2004. Flight attendants have to master aggressive techniques that can diffuse the situation in the cabin quickly.
The instructor in a TSA training video notes: “You don’t want to get into a long, drawn out fight.”