Thompson, Watson Coleman, DeFazio, Larsen Write Airlines to Urge Them to Require and Pay for Crew Members to Attend TSA’s Self Defense Program
Committee on Homeland Security Chair Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Transportation & Maritime Security Subcommittee Chair Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chair Peter DeFazio (D-OR), and Aviation Subcommittee Chair Rick Larsen (D-WA) sent letters to four major airlines urging them to require their crew members to attend TSA’s Crew Member Self Defense Program so that they are equipped with the necessary skills to deter and mitigate dangerous situations as unruly passenger behavior spikes across the country. The Chairs also requested that the airlines provide crewmembers with paid time, travel, and accommodations to participate in the program.
“This voluntary, no-cost training is led by Federal Air Marshals to teach crew members how to defuse tense situations and defend themselves during physical altercations with passengers,” wrote the Chairs. “Presently, flight attendants and other members of the flight crew who wish to attend this training must do so outside of work hours and secure travel and lodging at their own expense.”
“Though we all hope most flight crew members will never have to employ the skills they learn in this course, the disturbing increase and intensity of disruptive incidents aboard planes has accentuated the need for such training. It is our hope that you will require and provide for flight crew members to attend this training as part of your ongoing efforts to uphold safety and restore consumer confidence in air travel.”