Airline Safety
By Moshe Katz, Krav Maga Instructor, Israel

El Al flying safely over Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel.

El Al keeps you safe.

Airline safety is one of the many areas where Israel leads the world, and teaches the world. Simply put, we have no choice and we have a great deal of practical experience. Due to no fault of our own, we have to deal with many potential hijackers. We must fight for our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We have no choice if we wish to be free and independent. We must always be on our toes.

Israeli airline security is like no other. The only airline that I trust is El Al Israel airlines. Although I fly other airlines when I am traveling within the USA or Europe, I am always alert. While waiting to board I pay close attention to the passengers. And yes, of course I profile, anyone with any sense would. If there is anyone I feel uncomfortable about, I pay close attention to them throughout the flight.

One of the things we recommend is that early in the flight, or before you board, try to locate someone whom you think would be willing and able to help you, should an emergency arise.

If you do have to fight on the plane; it is best you know how. It is not the same as fighting in the dojo (martial arts school) and most of your techniques will be useless at best. Most traditional martial arts developed long before plane travel was common.

A good source for more information on how to handle airborne terrorists, is that of my friend (and long time instructor who certified me as a Krav Maga instructor), Itay Gil, one of the foremost authorities on Krav Maga today. His book "The Citizen's Guide to Stopping Suicide Attackers" by Paladin Press has an excellent chapter "The highest Stakes".

Here some tips from the book:

Request an aisle seat - Otherwise you will be stuck in your seat! An aisle seat gives you greater mobility.

Meet the People - If you see someone who might be able to help in such a potential situation, introduce yourself and learn their name. It may come in handy if you later need to shout for help.

Look Around - As I mentioned earlier, take a good look at your fellow passengers, profile, look for potential trouble makers.

Do Not Make a Bad Trade - If one person is being threatened, this does not mean you should sit back and accept whatever happens. Although each life is precious, one life does not equal 100, or however many passengers are on board.

For more tips and important information; read the book.

Self Defense Techniques

Realize that due to the narrow confines of an airplane, most martial arts techniques will not be useful, only close quarter combat techniques will be of use. Fortunately that is Krav Maga's specialty.

Most likely you would face a knife threat, there are many techniques to deal with these situations, but you will have to have had some training and be able to perform them in a high stress situation; Practice!

Improvised Weapons

Look around the plane, see what is available, a belt, a rolled up newspaper or magazine, a cup of hot coffee? (imagine hot coffee or tea splashing in a terrorist's face), some of the items on your tray? There are many possibilities, keep your eyes open. Some people consider this excessive but once you do it a few times it becomes habit; develop a mental exercise by always imagining what you can do and what potential weapons exist. This is called a "Warrior's Mindset"

Of course, proper training and developing a warrior's mindset before the flight, are very important.

Learn more about Airline Self Defense

Airline security is everybody's responsibility, we are allies in this struggle against international terrorism.

Train in Israel

Come to Israel where we recreate airline hostages situations and offer simple yet very effective techniques to control the situation. We have trained airline security guards, pilots and flight attendants from all over the world.

Sessions in March, June and November each year.

Cost for the basic 11 day course: $1,400, payable in dollars, Euro, Pound Sterling, or Israeli Shekel. Discounts for IKI members worldwide.Discounts for repeat participants.

The course combines practical Krav Maga training with touring sites of historical importance for the Krav Maga student.

Topics covered:

Hand to hand combat

Defense vs Gun, knife, stick, long weapons,

Defense in and around a car

Hostage situations.

Airline situations.

For more information: Tour and Train Krav Maga Israel Experience.

To Register.

About the author/instructor

Moshe Katz began his training in 1986 and has been training and exploring continuously since then. He is never content.