TSA Self-Defense Courses for Flight Attendants Are Back Because People Suck

The effects of bad behavior on flights continue

Looking down the rows of an empty airline cabin, with blue seats and white overhead bins
The news follows reports of bad behavior on flights across the country.
JC Gellidon/Unsplash

We’re living during a strange time for air travel. Not the good kind of strange, where the unexpected can happen in charming ways. No, this is more about airlines banning alcohol on flights due to unruly passengers and one flight attendant losing teeth after a passenger attacked them. Many of these disturbances have to do with passengers reacting badly to being told that, yes, they still have to wear a mask on-board their flight; consequently, their actions virtually guarantee that they won’t be doing much air travel in the near future.

Now, The Washington Post writes that the TSA is taking the next logical step in addressing a rise in passenger violence; Michael Laris reports that self-defense courses for flight attendants and pilots, which had been paused due to the pandemic, are now back on.

“While it is our hope that flight crew members never have need for these tactics, it is critical to everyone’s safety that they be well-prepared to handle situations as they arise,” Darby Lajoye, the TSA’s top official, told the Post.

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, addressed the courses in a recent tweet: “[I]t’s time to restart and make the voluntary course compulsory as intended originally by Congress.”

According to the article, the course is fairly wide-ranging in its scope, including everything from ways to search the cabin for explosives to methods of restraining someone. Hopefully it’s training that these employees will never need to use — but the rise in disruptive passengers makes an alarmingly good case for taking it.


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