How to survive a plane hijacking

airplane viewed through bridge structure

Although it is exceedingly rare, plane hijacking can still happen. Thus, it is important to know what to do in case the unfortunate occurs. As much as we wouldn’t want to find ourselves in such a scary situation, in case it does, it really helps to know how you should react.

Whether the attack is accompanied by noise, yelling and commotion or it is quiet and methodical with just an announcement from a crew member, the takeover of the aircraft by hijackers can be a very traumatizing experience to both the passengers and the cabin crew. Plus, how you react during the first few minutes of the attack is vital to the overall outcome.

Unfortunately, many airlines do not offer much guidance on how passengers should react in case of a dangerous situation when flying. This leaves the passengers hanging and unaware of what they can do to arrive at their destination safely even when faced with a life-threatening in-flight scenario.

Plane hijacking happens for many reasons. A hijacker could be on a suicide mission and use the aeroplane as a bomb. An attack could also happen for publicity for a certain political movement to gain popularity. The reasons could be many. Someone could also be looking for a way to escape to another country. But that’s not important. What is important is for you to reach your destination unhurt.

So, to ensure you avoid violence and achieve a peaceful resolution in case there are attackers in your plane, here’s what you need to do.

Stay put

During an attack, a lot of things happen. There is commotion and confusion. In such a time, the best thing you can do is to remain calm. This is not the time to play the hero or pretend to know it all. This will not help the situation and in any case. In fact, it is more likely to escalate it.

Thus, instead of putting yourself in more danger, how about you stay calm and wait for the crew’s instructions? These are professionals who are highly trained in self-defence and they know their way around the flight. Moreover, they know how to keep the cockpit safe and use tools such as wine bottles and coffee pots to restrain the attacker.

Unless you have had specific training in the police unit or military, do not show any heroism in a hijack situation. You could get injured or even lose your dear life. Other than ensuring you are comfortable during your trip, the cabin crew is there to ensure you reach your destination unharmed.

Avoid drawing attention

One of the things that put some passengers at greater risks is the attention they draw to themselves. If you want to maximize your safety, avoid situations that make you the odd one out. Whenever you are flying out, be sure to dress in moderation. Avoid outfits and accessories that don’t blend in with other passengers because, in the case of a hijack, you will draw unnecessary attention.

Also, avoid making yourself a potential hostage by sharing too much information about you with other passengers in the name of being social. If you are not conversing with someone you know pretty well, a friend or a family member, then stay silent. The less your attacker knows about you the safer you are.

Don’t engage the attacker

You may think that engaging in a conversation with the hijacker will save the situation, but in most cases, it may put you at a greater risk. While a conversation with the attacker is good, it is not in your jurisdiction. Leave that to the cabin crew because they are the ones who are trained to handle such security situations. They know when to restrain the attacker and when and where to call for help. If you want to make things easier for everyone, please, stay calm and encourage others near you to do the same.

Don’t challenge the attacker

Remember the attackers are probably as nervous as you are. Although they may pretend to be calm and in control of the situation, the truth is, they also have their fears and cannot be trusted to be rational. This means a wrong move by either the attacker or the victim and everything goes hire wire. To promote a peaceful resolution in such a situation, try as much as you can to cooperate with the attackers. For now, they have an upper hand. If you comply and escape unhurt, you will have an upper hand when the authorities take charge. Before then, cooperate with them.

Fly with legacy airlines

Travellers choose airlines based on different reasons like charges, comfort or even the destination you are going to. However, when it comes to security reasons, you have to be a little smarter and only choose an airline with a legacy. These airlines employ flight attendants who are highly trained. In addition to that, they offer them more safety training from time to time. The long-established security and safety skills instilled in them during the years of service enable them to handle any form of plane hijacking in a very intelligent way.

Be observant

If you are in a position to see what is happening during the attack, note every small detail including the ones you think are less important. Observe the attackers’ character, their physical appearance, dress code, ascent and anything else that can help identify them. If you notice something unusual in any other passenger, note this information too. Remain calm and memorize this information as much as you can. The investigators will find that information very useful. Plus, such information can be used to improve security in the future.

You can even give each attacker a name if that will make it easier for you to remember the scenario thereafter. Take note of any other relevant information. But as you do all these, ensure you remain calm. Furthermore, avoid direct eye contact with the attacker or portray hostile looks. Doing so can draw unnecessary attention towards you.

Give intelligent answers

If by any chance you happen to be addressed by the hijackers, respond calmly and keep your answers short. Your answers should not contain too much information. Minimize the information you share as much as possible. Not unless directly asked about your job, don’t share any information on what you do. If you are in the military and have an official passport, give your tourist passport if asked for identification. If directly questioned about your military status, confirm and explain you usually travel on your personal passport and nothing ill was intended by not sharing your official passport at first.

Be safe when flying

The fact that plane hijacking happens should not stop you from flying as often as you do. Airlines have done a lot to improve security from the toughened cockpit to tight boarding procedures. With such tight security measures, it’s hard for attackers to get a chance to attack the aircraft. Over the same, if it happens, with these tips, you are more likely to come out hurt.

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