Korean Air Is About to Get More Aggressive With Unruly Passengers

Dec 28, 2016

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Pop singer Richard Marx made headlines last week when he helped to subdue an unruly passenger onboard a Korean Air flight from Hanoi to Seoul. Marx’s wife, Daisy Fuentes — yes, the model and former “America’s Funniest Videos” co-host — posted about the incident on her Instagram page, describing how the passenger had spent four hours attacking both the flight crew and their fellow passengers. She also mentioned that flight attendants were never really able to get full control of him, while Marx later said crew were “ill-trained” and “ill-equipped.”

Emboldened, or perhaps embarrassed, by the very public skirmish, the airline has since promised to improve its current procedures in order to better protect passengers.

On Tuesday, Korean Air officials formally announced a renewed focus on inflight security. “Korean Air has incredibly strong security measures but is beefing them up and reinforcing them by increasing Taser training, looking at putting male flight attendants on all flights and it’s going to increase the overall training in the cabin,” airline spokesperson Penny Pfaelzer told NBC News.

Though it’s partly a step in the right direction, the plan drew ire from many airline industry insiders who criticized Korean Air’s focus on gender.

“On one hand, you could not do that in the U.S. … say that you’re going to hire a certain gender,” Airline Weekly’s managing editor Seth Kaplan said to NBC News. “But on the other hand, I think the gender balance here is a lot better than it is [in East Asia].”

According to the NBC News article, an aviation safety expert and professor of aerospace management at Metropolitan State University of Denver named Jeff Price echoed Kaplan’s response, noting that it was crazy to think male flight attendants were more qualified to handle out-of-control passengers than their female counterparts — though he does agree with the increased Taser training as being part of the plan. “I think the key point here is that we have trained person able to use the Taser properly,” Price said. “They shouldn’t be handing them out to any flight attendant that comes on board.”

As for the passenger on Marx’s flight who sparked the debate? He probably “Should’ve Known Better.”

H/T: NBC News

Featured image of Korean Air flight attendants undergoing security training courtesy of Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images.

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