It is not every day that other passengers are asked to intervene when an in-flight malfunction occurs. But the February 9th Frontier sample wasn’t the only sample of the month.
Days later, when a passenger was on an American Airlines flight to Washington tried Another passenger said as she opened the door, she heard a request for a “big guy to the front of the plane.” Bystanders and crew subdued the 50-year-old man.
In recent years, disruptive behavior has reached unprecedented levels, often involving passengers who refuse to comply with federal mask shipping regulations. As of Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration had received 1,035 reports of unruly passengers this year. Last year’s total reached 5,981.
What should passengers do if they find themselves in destructive behavior? Don’t overreact, experts say.
Pilots should not be involved unless there is an imminent risk of personal injury, Sara Nelson, international president of the Flight Attendants Association, said in an email.
Instead, she said, they should inform flight attendants – they are Trained in de-escalation techniques — Tell a person when they pass by, go to the kitchen area or press the call button.
“If there are other passengers causing disruption, flight attendants handle it and don’t want disruption unless the situation becomes violent,” Jeff Price, a professor of aviation management at Denver City State University, said in an email. The involvement of other passengers may escalate the situation before physical confrontation (or threat of conflict).”
Most airlines declined to answer The Washington Post’s questions on the topic.
“We ask customers to follow the instructions of Southwest Airlines employees during any type of incident or incident, as each situation may be unique,” Southwest Airlines said in a statement.
Even if the situation escalates, passengers may not need to intervene. Federal air police officers were placed on domestic and international flights, but details about their numbers and deployment have not been released.Southwest Stewardess Union President ask Her airline last year asked the government to increase the number of air police officers on flights and to step in if crew members were threatened.TSA also offers self-defense Training to the flight attendant.
Nielsen said other passengers should intervene only if requested by flight attendants. She said they may be asked to move to another seat.
“In extreme events, a passenger may be instructed to help restrain another passenger,” she said in an email.
That might look like a specific request to grab someone’s hand, or whatever else the crew needs, Price said. During the border melee, the group ended up zipping zippers around the violent passenger’s hands and bound his feet with plastic wrap.
Passengers have been intervening in such incidents for decades—sometimes with serious consequences. In 2000, a 19-year-old passenger smashed a Southwest Airlines cockpit door and died after being restrained by several passengers. Prosecutors reject charges in his death, New York Times report.
Travelers who are asked to help should be clear about how they are willing to participate, Nelson said.
“We rarely ask for help because most people want a safe, smooth flight, and it’s only a small group of people who are causing conflicts or problems,” she said. “If you don’t want to help, please let us know right away so we can Command others in an emergency.”
“The only passengers who are obligated to do anything are the passengers in the exit row who open the doors in an emergency,” Price said.