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Flight attendants learn self-defense to deal with unruly passengers

by Jeff Rossen and Lindsey Bomnin / / Source: TODAY

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In May, a fight broke out among three passengers aboard a Southwest Airlines jet deplaning in Burbank. Last year, a fight broke out among five women aboard a Spirit Airlines flight just after it landed in Los Angeles.

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In light of these and similar recent incidents of rage aboard airliners, federal air marshals are now teaching flight attendants self-defense techniques. The Department of Homeland Security gave the Rossen Reports team a rare look inside.

"It's a great opportunity for us," one of a group of Southwest Airlines flight attendants receiving the training told TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen. "This helps us feel self-confident and be able to handle any situation that comes our way."

Rossen played the part of an unruly passenger as one flight attendant demonstrated how she would neutralize an attacker with a knife.

The air marshals say they are working with all the airlines to get flight attendants trained. And the federal government has lifted a five-year hiring ban for air marshals and is now training many new recruits.

To suggest a topic for an upcoming investigation, visit the Rossen Reports Facebook page.

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