Korean Air uses stun guns on unruly passengers
Reports stated that Korean Air used stun guns at least 5 times on unruly passengers aboard their aircraft. The airline said they had made stun guns standard aboard all flights in light of increasing unruliness among passengers. A recent incident aboard its aircraft was widely publicized after US singer Richard Marx had to intervene to subdue an unruly passenger.
What is a stun gun?
Stun guns use compressed air to fire darts into a target's body, that release a 50,000-volt electric charge, designed to temporarily paralyze the target. They can also be used in close range by holding it against a target's body.
Cabin crew struggle to subdue unruly passenger
In December, cabin crew aboard a Korean Air flight from Hanoi to Seoul was unable to restrain an unruly drunk passenger who began attacking the crew and other passengers. Several passengers had to get together to subdue the man, who was then handed over to police on landing. American singer Richard Marx who was on board said the crew were "ill-prepared" for the event.
Marx complains about poor training
Taking to Facebook, Marx said "Korean Air should be sanctioned for not knowing how to handle a situation like this without passenger interference."
Korean Air taking steps to train staff
In response to Richard Marx's allegation of poorly trained staff, Korean Air said guidelines will be revised for crew to react "firmly and actively against in-flight violence." Staff would be trained "to cope with violent acts and disturbances on board in a fast and efficient manner." They invited the media to witness a training session where staff were being trained in using stun guns.
Tasers aboard Korean Air
Korean Air introduced on-board stun guns in 2002. Every Korean Air flight has a stun gun, while the A380s have a set of two. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has no guidelines on the use of stun guns on flights
Do other airlines carry stun guns?
Most major airlines declined to reveal whether or not they carry stun guns as a protective measure on flights. However, Etihad, Malaysia Airlines and Jet Airways confirmed that they do not carry stun guns.
Unruly passengers: A growing menace
The IATA said there had been a 17% increase in unruly behaviour and passengers aboard aircraft in 2016. These included incidents of people getting in fights, being verbally abusive or refusing to follow cabin crew orders. 11% of the cases involved physical abuse and damage to the aircraft. Drugs and alcohol were the cause in 25% of the cases.
Unruly passengers in India
There have been several instances of unruly passengers on Indian flights. The issue precipitated in October 2016, when several Indian carriers including SpiceJet, Jet Airways and IndiGo urged the Civil Aviation Ministry to ban the sale of alcohol at airports.