Korean Air has decided to revise its guidelines allowing crew members to act more aggressively when faced with in-flight violence, in response to criticism for lack of proper management of an unruly passenger on a recent flight.
“Korean Air will react more firmly and actively against in-flight violence that threatens the overall safety of the flight,” the airline said in a statement on Wednesday.
On December 20, during a flight from Hanoi to Seoul, American pop singer Richard Marx had to intervene to help restrain a passenger who was spitting and swearing at the crew.
The incident was brought to attention when Marx shared the story on Facebook and Twitter. He said crew members were neither properly trained nor equipped to handle such cases.
Marx criticized the Korean Air staff for not knowing how to use ropes to tie the man to his seat, describing them as “clueless and ill-trained.”
Based on the new guidelines, more staff training will be required. The airline might even ban passengers with a history of disruptive behavior from getting on board.
Korean Air has also announced that it will consider the use of taser guns to deal with possible in-flight aggressive behavior. Until now, the use of such guns was only limited to grave situations wherein the lives of passengers and crew, or the plane’s navigation, would be threatened.
South Korea’s flag carrier said it would hire more male flight attendants and obligate the presence of at least one male crew member on each flight. Currently, males only constitute one-tenth of attendants in Korean airlines.
“While US carriers have taken stern action on violent on-board behavior following the terrorist attacks of September 11 (2001), Asian carriers including us have not imposed tough standards because of Asian culture,” Korean Air President Chi Chang-hoon said in a news conference.
According to reports, over the past few years, the number of unlawful acts committed on board Korean flights has more than tripled.
On Tuesday, police said that they had an arrest warrant for the passenger involved in last week’s incident. He is charged with causing injury to a crew member and one passenger.
The man has apologized for his behavior, saying he was drunk at the time.