Korean Air to get tough on unruly passengers after criticism by Richard Marx

Korean Air to get tough on unruly passengers after criticism by Richard Marx
Pop singer Richard Marx and his wife were travelling from Hanoi, to Seoul, South Korea on Korean Air Flight 480 when an unruly passenger reportedly began attacking those aboard the plane.
PHOTO: Daisy Fuentes

GIMPO, South Korea - Korean Air Lines said it will allow crew members to "readily use stun guns" to manage violent passengers, and hire more male flight attendants, after coming in for criticism from US singer Richard Marx over its handling of a recent incident. 

The new crew guidelines, announced on Tuesday following the Dec. 20 incident, will also include more staff training, use of the latest device to tie up a violent passenger, and the banning of passengers with a history of unruly behaviour. 

Men account for about one-tenth of Korean Air flight attendants, and the carrier said it will try to have at least one male on duty in the cabin for each flight. 

"While US carriers have taken stern action on violent on-board behaviour following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 (2001), Asian carriers including us have not imposed tough standards because of Asian culture," Korean Air President Chi Chang-hoon told a news conference. 

"We will use the latest incident to put safety foremost and strengthen our safety standards," he said. 

Richard Marx takes down violent man on Korean Air

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    Pop icon Richard Marx, who is known for his romantic hits in the 80s, subdued a violent passenger on Korean Air flight 480 flying from Hanoi, Vietnam to Seoul on December 20.

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    Richard Marx and his wife Daisy Fuentes documented the ordeal on Twitter and Facebook.

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    Richard Marx swung into action after the violent man started attacking the flight attendants and other passengers.

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    The violent man was restrained and tied with a rope but he broke free a few times and caused trouble again and again.

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    Richard Marx and a few other male passengers had to suppress the man nearly throughout the four-hour flight.

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    The pop star said the female attendants should have been trained to manage such situations without requiring passengers to step in.

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    Trouble apparently started after the crazed passenger started pulling an attendant's hair.

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    He also attacked other attendants and other passengers when they tried to help the stewardess whose hair was pulled.

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    The plane was flying over China when the incident happened.

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    Richard Marx stepped in to help after realising the female flight attendants were in a helpless situation.

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    Although the flight attendants had a taser, they didn't know how to use, said Marx.

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    Marx holding a rope that was used to tie up the unruly passenger.

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    Marx and his wife, VJ Daisy Fuentes, were in Hanoi before flying to Seoul.

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    Richard Marx, who performed in a Christmas concert in Hanoi on Dec 19, flew to Seoul to take a connecting flight to US.

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    Marx is well-known for huge hits in the 80s and 90s like Right Here Waiting, Hold On To The Night and Satisfied.

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    Marx married another hopelessly romantic star, Latina VJ Daisy Fuentes.

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    The couple enjoying the sights in Hanoi where he performed in a Christmas concert with Vietnamese singers on Dec 19.



In South Korea, the number of unlawful acts committed aboard airplanes has more than tripled over the past five years, according to government data. 

South Korean police on Tuesday sought an arrest warrant for the passenger involved in the latest incident, identified by his surname Lim, on charges including inflicting injury to the crew and a passenger on the Vietnam to South Korea flight. 

An airline spokesman said the man had consumed two and a half shots of whiskey during the flight. 

The incident came to light when Marx said on Facebook and Twitter that he helped subdue "a psycho passenger attacking crew members and other passengers," accusing crew members of being "ill-trained" and "ill-equipped" to handle the "chaotic and dangerous event". 

Marx's wife Daisy Fuentes, a TV host and model who was with the singer during the flight from Hanoi to Incheon near Seoul, said on Instagram that crew members "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)." 

Video of the incident posted on YouTube showed a young man in a business class seat spitting and swearing at crew members trying to restrain him with a rope. 

Lim, in his early 30s, appeared on Monday for questioning by police, wearing a mask, thick-rimmed glasses and a hat. He apologised for his behaviour but said he could not remember what had happened, according to video shown by broadcaster SBS. 

Korean Air said it sent a thank-you letter to Marx's management agency for helping control Lim. 

Korean Air was involved in a high-profile case of bad passenger behaviour in late 2014 when the daughter of its chairman, who was an executive with the carrier, forced a flight crew chief off the plane at New York's JFK Airport because she was unhappy about the way she was served macadamia nuts. 

The "nut rage" incident provoked widespread ridicule and resulted in the executive, Heather Cho, serving nearly five months in jail.

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