Sara Nelson, often called the world’s most powerful flight attendant, has floated the idea of flight attendants being armed with tasers in case of violence onboard flights. My answer is no thank you; there are better ways to handle violence.
No Thanks: Why I’m Against Flight Attendants With Tasers Onboard
In light of the recent incident on a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Boston in which a crazed passenger repeatedly stabbed a flight attendant with a broken metal spoon, CNN invited Nelson on to discuss flight attendant safety. Nelson is President of the AFA-CWA union which advocated for a number of flight attendant groups, including at United Airlines.
When asked about tools flight attendants need in order to reduce violence onboard, she said:
“There has been a lot of discussion about whether or not flight attendants should have tasers. I think we need to look at that discussion again.”
Sorry Sara. That’s a terrible idea. First, I doubt these weapons will serve as deterrents for those who act up onboard. Second, imagine if the bad passenger snatches the taser. Suddenly, a bad situation becomes much worse. Third, I do not want a power-tripping flight attendant armed with a device that can severely hurt me. Sorry. No way.
Passengers can and will rise to the occasion when bad behavior flares up onboard. As we saw onboard the United flight I referenced above, passengers tackled the man when he attacked the flight attendant and then subdued him. He was tied up with belts from the waists of passengers and closely watched until the flight could land and the FBI could rest him.
In other words, the system in its present form is not ideal, but better than the alternatives. The last thing we need is armed flight attendants onboard airplanes.
I think arming flight attendants with tasers is a terrible idea. The status quo is not perfect, but adding an extra element of uncertainty into dealing with violent predators onboard strikes me as the surest way to make a bad situation even worse.
Tasers onboard. Yes or no?
(H/T: View From The Wing)