TSA Teaches Flight Attendants How to Beat Up Passengers

This TSA video begins, “a poke to the eyes, a slap to the ears, a kick to the groin.. these students aren’t air marshals, they’re airline flight attendants.”

Airline set standards. In the United incident, crew followed procedures and it was Chicago Aviation Police who bloodied passenger Dr. David Dao.

Airlines and the government invest in training flight attendants to view passengers as potential threats:

Flight attendant Gina Hernlem knows the threat is real: ‘It just happened last week. It was that demeanor, it was that cold stare, getting into personal space, moving the shoulder in. It never escalated..

The flight attendants describe the training as fun but the real reason for the classes is never far from the surface. If it comes to fighting or fleeing? “I’ll fight. Absolutely. Onboard the aircraft you don’t have a choice.” Like most of the crew members taking the training, Sara Nelson has powerful memories of September 11, 2001..”

What there isn’t enough training on? Not treating customer service problems as law enforcement issues.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »



  1. How about training of smiling and corteous to passenger/customer (the one that paid money to the airline that paid their salaries)? You know… like those FAs in asian airlines?

  2. @James Especially those Chinese FAs. You know, the ones that have kung fu classes make up 20% of their training. Does it hurt when you think?

    Gary is just in WLB mode because FAs don’t fawn over him.

  3. There already seems to be an abundance of aggressive FA’s around. Feeling more empowered may prove to have interesting results.

  4. New topic: hotels using computer operated thermostats that turn off the A/C when there isn’t any movement in the room. This doesn’t sound too bad until you fall asleep and the A/C turns off. You end up tossing and turning all night because you get hot. carnival cruise did this on our most recent trip. Midnight and the A/C would stop working. Kept having to take quick showered in hopes of staying cool enough to sleep. Some thermostats you can bypass by going to utube and typing in the name of the thermostat, but not always. Please write a story about these motion detector thermostats. Couldn’t they have saved money by adding ceiling fans instead? Frequent traverler

  5. They don’t teach flight attendants any self defense moves. I’ve been flying for over 20 years and they have only showed me how to break someone’s hold on your wrist. I tried it at home on my brother and it didn’t work. If I had some kind of special training I might have been able to save myself from some pretty aweful situations including a sexual assault on the plane. You make it sound like we are being trained to beat up poor defenseless passengers. The truth is they don’t even train us to protect ourselves. You have all made a big deal about what happened to Dr.Dao but you hardly said anything about a passenger breaking a ground agent’s neck or a flight attendant severely beaten up by a guy who had been given time off from a mental institution. The thing is that it’s not big news to report about employees being assaulted but it happens all the time.

  6. Maybe ,just maybe now, had some of the Fan’s had some training before 911 then maybe the twin towers would still standing. Yes AA FA’s need a lesson in manners. But this attitude of it will not be needed is b.s. 911 will happen again, when it does will you people do sit cans be a victim and say its the Fan’s responsibility to protect me or will you work with the Fan’s to save your own ass?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *