(WSVN) - When we fly, airline crew members and flight attendants are there see to our safety and comfort. But as 7’s Brandon Beyer reports, when problem passengers get out of line, it’s up to the crew to draw the line in “Air Defense.”

They learn to punch and move. These flight attendants and crew members are learning self-defense on the ground to better handle chaos in the air.

Tara Sturridge, JetBlue flight attendant: “We’ve experienced brawls on the plane, and sometimes you can really feel completely out of control.”

These days, the not-so-friendly skies can carry serious threats from terrorists, and even drunk passengers who have been known to attack flight attendants and pilots.

Sherry Eason, JetBlue flight attendant: “The world we live in now is just dangerous. The fear of not knowing who could be wanting to do harm to someone is real.”

That’s why the Transportation Security Administration is offering self-defense classes to airline crew members — free of charge.

Scott Armstrong, program manager: “9/11 is what started the whole thing. They wanted to have some extra layer of defense on aircraft should something occur.”

Scott Armstrong leads a team of federal air marshals in the basic training program.

They’re basic but effective moves, like the knee strike, the hammer fist and the palm heel strike.

Jose Torra, JetBlue flight attendant: “One of the things I’ve always imagined is someone running up that aisle of the plane and just running straight toward us, and I think this is going to give us a way of using things around us to defend ourselves.”

Once the flight attendants get the basic moves down on the mats, they move to the flight simulator, to this exact replica of an airliner cabin, which gives them the feel for how to fight back in flight.

Here they learn to protect themselves and subdue attackers in the close quarters and narrow aisles of an airplane.

Federal air marshals say, once crew members do these moves in class, they become second nature in a real emergency.

Scott Armstrong: “This is a mindset issue. The body’s not going to go where the mind hasn’t been, so when people show up here, they’re taking an active role in their self-defense.”

Cheering on their classmates…

Sherry Eason: “I can do something to protect myself. I’m not just this little country girl that can’t defend herself. I’ve got the tools that they’re giving us today to help that.”

Tools that will be their first line of air defense.

The classes are being taught all over the country. If you’re an airline crew member interested in taking the self-defense training program, click on the link below.


TSA Crew Member Self Defense Training Program

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