Security training offered to flight attendants as airlines see rise in unruly passengers

Officials say 3,889 unruly passenger complaints have been filed in 2021

Rise in unruly passengers leads to new safety training for flight attendants
Rise in unruly passengers leads to new safety training for flight attendants

DETROIT – Many flight crews across the country and in Detroit are being offered self defense classes to protect themselves and others on board flights from violent passengers.

Passengers have been lashing out over mask mandates and other new rules being enforced to protect people during the COVID pandemic.

Read: 2 Spirit agents hurt, passengers arrested after bag dispute in Detroit, airline says

There have been almost 3,000 mask-related incidents since the coronavirus pandemic started. Flight attendants have been battling with those who refuse to follow mask mandates.

A recent slew of delays and cancellations also has passengers on edge. When Spirit Airlines cancelled hundreds of flights earlier this month, tensions were high.

Read: Spirit Air says canceled flights cost $50M, hurt bookings

“As the number of passengers traveling has increased, so has the number of unruly and unsafe behavior incidents on planes and in airports. As a result of an uptick in unruly passengers, Federal Air Marshals with the Transportation Security Administration are now providing an increased number of self-defense training sessions to flight attendants,” the FAA Administrator said in a statement.

Starting in September, security training will be offered to flight crews at the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.

Click here to view data on unruly passengers from the Federal Aviation Administration.

About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.