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Flight Attendant Ninjas

flight-attendant-ninjaThe House of Representatives has been super busy with all sorts of things, one of which is passing the TSA Authorization by a vote of 397 to 25. What does this mean to you, the business traveler? Not a whole lot, but it does mean you can feel a little safer while flying the friendly skies.

H.R. 2200, the bill in question, requires flight attendants to complete a minimum of hands-on self defense training every two years. Many of you may be surprised to find that this sort of training has in the past been strictly voluntary. Now, we’ll have Boeings full of high-heeled Chuck Norrises. I personally think it’s a great plan.

“Since the day after 9-11, AFA-CWA [The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA] has demanded enhanced security and self defense training in order to provide flight attendants with the effective tools needed to increase safety and security onboard the aircraft,” said Patricia Friend, AFA-CWA International President. “Over the past seven years, the federal government has focused on cockpit security, but little has been done to protect flight attendants. This self defense language, if enacted into law, will finally provide all flight attendants with the training to protect themselves and the traveling public.”

In addition, the TSA Authorization also calls for a study of wireless communication devices that can be used by flight attendants to discreetly communicate among flight crew without dashing to the galley to use the phone. Little walkie talkies? The study will evaluate current technology available and assess which would benefit flight attendants the most.

“The current, voluntary self defense training provides a decent foundation, but it is important that all flight attendants are equipped with the knowledge and experience to protect themselves, as well as the integrity of the cabin. A flight attendant should not have to worry whether their flying partners have had the same training, should a situation arise. By incorporating this self defense training and other existing security training programs as part of flight attendant recurrent training, flight attendants will further enhance their role as safety and security professionals,” said Friend.

The press release did not mention when the training will become mandatory.