Amid an uptick in unruly passengers disrupting flights across the United States, Sonya Labosco, a retired supervisory federal air marshal, and Mason Stephens, a Southwest Airlines flight attendant, joined ‘Watters’ World’ to highlight the dangers of disruptive passengers.
Stephens told host Jesse Watters that even before the recent trend of unruly passengers in the sky, she had begun self-defense training.
“I started training before all of this went haywire because there have always been lots of incidents. They just seem to have become more extreme,” she said.
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“I train with a female MMA fighter. I started training with her two years ago because I wanted to be able to protect myself. I didn’t want to take some basic random self-defense. I wanted to truly be able to really protect myself.”
Watters asked Labosco why there are not more air marshals in the sky, noting that in many cases, passengers and flight attendants are the ones forced to restrain unruly passengers.
“The answer is pretty simple,” Labosco said. “The federal air marshal service does not have the resources. Our capacity to fly on these aircraft has degraded. We are down nearly 50% on air marshals. So there are no resources.”
In light of the lack of air marshals flying on flights, Labosco suggested that passengers should attempt to deescalate situations with disruptive passengers.
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“The first thing you need to do is deescalate,” she said. “That’s the first thing you want to do. Calm the situation down. If somebody is being aggressive, you have to believe that we’re going to put them in a chokehold. You need to take action.”
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Labosco added that there are real dangers associated with these kinds of passengers, and so action is necessary.
“That person can harm you at 35,000 feet above sea level. There is no air for anything to go wrong,” she said. “Take action, put those people on the ground, tape ‘em up, handcuff them, whatever you need to do.”