These Flight Attendants Can Kick Your Butt

With the growth of Chinese aviation, more and more Chinese people fly. I’ve written about how air travel is increasingly democratized and just as there are problematic people on the ground, there are problematic people in the sky.

In China it’s even more likely in the U.S. that you’ll have passengers unfamiliar with social norms of air travel, as rapid growth and industrialization has meant bringing rural Chinese into contact with development and air travel for the first time. The Chinese government has tried to crack down on the behavior of its citizens while traveling abroad, and so has the Thai government.

When I traveled to Beijing in 2008 before the Olympics I recall signs reminding citizens to be on their best behavior because ‘the world is watching’ in advance of the Summer Games.

Whether it’s passengers charging the cockpit, self upgrading, or opening the aircraft door and popping the slide, Chinese flight attendants have to be ready — perhaps even more ready than their counterparts working for airlines based in other parts of the world. It’s dangerous out there.

That’s why the Chengdu Civil Aviation Academy trains flight attendants in combat.

Using military style training… the women are seen to carry logs in muddy water that is almost calf deep, not an easy condition by anyone’s standards.

Wading through the filthy water is a tough task for the petite trainees, who look more like army recruits than newbie flight attendants.

The Chengdu East Star Airline training course is designed to sort the wheat from the chaff, and ensure the flight attendants who make it through to the final round are the toughest stewardesses around.

Two years ago I wrote about Chengdu’s Southwest Airline College teaching flight attendants kung fu.

The practice isn’t limited to mainland China, either, because I covered Hong Kong Airlines using kung fu training in 2011 in response to their dealing with “3 drunk or unruly passengers a week.”

In Henan Province perform martial arts under the direction of a Taoist kung fu on top of a mountain 6,560 feet about sea level.

Chinese high school graduates may have to parade in bikinis to get the job. But at the end of the day they’re far more effective as a first line of defense than US air marshals.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary, Imagine if Conrad Hilton Jr. tried to punch one of these flight attendants…..

  2. This just nurtures the illusion of safety. A single well placed upper cut from a 200 pound man will finish them off in the most comical fashion.

    Let’s not let movie logic govern our perception of air travel safety. This is an advertising ploy.

  3. Yes, David, but the key is a “well placed” uppercut. Not an easy thing to do against a trained adversary.

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