It took public backlash to finally choose safety over cultural standards.
An incident that occurred on Korea Air last week went viral when singer Richard Marx posted about his involvement on social media, causing the airline to reevaluate its policies. The singer’s wife, Daisy Fuentes, also posted about the ordeal online and said that an unruly passenger had gone crazy and pushed the flight attendants and pulled their hair. She went on to say,
“This went on for FOUR hrs. I feel horrible for the abuse the staff had to endure but no one was prepared for this. They never fully got control of him. They didn’t know how to use the taser & they didn’t know how to secure the rope around him (he got loose from their rope restraints 3 times).”
Though photos show the flight attendants posed with Tasers, the stun guns were apparently never employed to detain the passenger. As a result of the backlash surrounding the publicized incident, Korean Air announced in a statement that they were going to loosen the restrictions regarding the use of Tasers by their flight attendants.
The airline also stated that they would work to hire more male flight attendants and try to have one male on each flight to discourage passengers from attacking and better handle the situations. Currently, only 1 of every 10 flight attendants is a male at Korea Air. In the statement, they said,
“We have decided to improve our conditions and procedure on using Taser guns to cope with violent acts and disturbances on board in a fast and efficient manner.”
Korean Air President Chi Chang-hoon said in a news conference that while American airlines have tightened restrictions when it comes to safety ever since the attack on 9/11, Asian airlines have not followed suit because of Asian culture. It wasn’t until this incident went viral that they decided to use tougher standards, despite the fact that unlawful acts committed on airplanes has tripled in the last five years in South Korea alone.
With the previous policies, flight attendants were only allowed to use Tasers when the lives of passengers or crew were threatened, which explains why the guns were brought out but never deployed. Chang-hoon concluded in his news conference that,
“We will use the latest incident to put safety foremost and strengthen our safety standards.”
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