TSA self-defense class prepares flight attendants and crew for threats on board

Posted at 11:15 PM, Nov 11, 2016

From how to stand to how to position their hands, Federal Air Marshals are teaching flight attendants and flight crew members how to defend themselves in mid-air.

Through a voluntary Transportation Safety Administration self-defense class, crew members are learning how to respond to any threat on board.

"If you look at the news at all you can see that the times that we are living in are incredibly dangerous," said Randi Ross with Silver Airways.

Emmanuel Colon with Spirit Airlines ever thought about how to stand while talking to passengers.

"Already has me thinking about what I would do if I was in that position," said Colon.

In his first 8 months with the airline, he's already faced a risky situation with a disgruntled passenger.

"I did almost have a fight break out once," said Colon.

With no Federal Air Marshal on the flight, Colon resolved the issue on is own.

"Air Marshals, we cover a lot of flights, but we can't cover all of the flights and crew members are on every flight," said Harry Norman, Assistant Supervisory Air Marshal in Charge.

Norman is in charge at the Miami Field Office where the flight attendants in South Florida take the self-defense class. He believes terrorists will always target airlines, so flight attendants must know how to fight.

Instructors show the students how to strike and move around an attacker. They learn how to find his or her pressure points, how to use their surroundings to their advantage, and what to do in life or death scenarios where the attacker may have a weapon.

As part of their training flight attendants have to learn how to execute these tactics within the limited space on board, they have to learn how to fight back in a narrow aisle.

"This is a hijacking," yells one of the Air Marshals who we are not identifying.

"You can't back out, you can't back down, and you can't land the airplane and get help right away," added Norman.

Air Marshals also simulate scenarios with drunken passengers, fights between passengers, and terrorist attacks. 

"You hope that you never have to encounter these episodes," added Ross.
TSA encourages all flight crew members and flight attendants to take the free course. To sign up, click here