Seems like flight attendants have to go through a whole lot of new training requirements these days before they hit the skies. Typical training no longer includes just Hostile Management, Disaster Safety and Customer Service lessons — now some flight attendants are expected to attend seminars about how to spot signs of human trafficking in-flight, and others are even expected to learn kung fu.
It’s not as bad as it sounds…in fact, we kind of love the idea. Hong Kong Airlines has made it mandatory for all flight attendants to participate in wing chun martial arts training, which is close-range combat with striking and grappling.
Our initial reaction was “Oh, another extravagant marketing ploy by an airline,” a la Air New Zealand’s recent fun but questionable commercials. Turns out, however, the kung fu is actually being used to combat aggressive flyers.
According to the airline, the flight attendants have to deal with unruly passengers at least 3 times a week, and practicing kung fu will better prepare an attendant for a potentially dangerous situation. For example, when a drunk man disrupted a flight not too long ago, the attendant was able to help the “fat guy” because of her recent training. It wasn’t clear how exactly she did so, but we can assume it was an interesting scene.
And according to some flight attendants, wing chun is so good because it’s super fast and attendants are already feeling better about defending themselves. Since it’s used in small, confined spaces, it’s completely suitable for an airplane.
So we want to know: do you think kung fu or other martial arts can help control messy scenes on an airplane, or is it a silly idea? Should we introduce a similar notion here in North America or is it a lawsuit waiting to happen?