On a recent trip to Chicago (just for 2 days) I was wondering about this Question. I was sitting in 1st class, the second seat from the bulk head. No one next to me, so I was essentially the last passenger before the cockpit. And I was thinking to myself. If this plane were hijacked and a terrorist was trying to get to the cockpit and or take the plane over in one manner or another…what would I do.
I’m 6’2" and roughly 220lbs. I’m not a small guy. I do believe that I would picture my wife, and her sorrow for losing me, and that would fuel the excess adrenaline I would need to do whatever it takes to subdue any insurgence.
I wouldn’t really care if they were weilding a knife of some form or another. My rationale would be that of logic. (split second hopful logic that is) There would be 150 people on the plane that would not want to die. I would rush the terrorist, and maybe get cut, but he would still go down. And I would hope, another passenger would help.
Would you be that passenger? Or would you freeze in utter disbelief and let fate run it’s course, and watch as I alone try to subdue ruthless killers.
I’d assume adrenaline, and the thought of widowing my wife would be fuel enough to at least mangle a terrorist enough to subdue them.
You would be a fool not to. What do you have to lose? If you do nothing you’re already dead, but if you go after the guy you’ll at least have a fighting chance to live.
That is, assuming that this is a 9/11-type hijacking. If it were a Take me to the nearest airport and land because I’m a freedom fighter and I want my people released type deal, like Entebbe was, then I’d probably sit on my hands unless I had no other choice.
We are taking a trip to Germany in August, so this thought fuels my brain during tired moments.
Would I fight?
If it were just Mr. Ujest (5’10, barrel chested 250 pound guy strong as an Ox. He’s such a good gherman boy, ja.) and me (5’3, 160 of pissed off female) you betcha we’d fight. I am not afraid to die and other than dying in my sleep, cannot imagine a better cause to die for than so that others may live ( and maybe have a high school named after me …I’m so vain ) and possibly have a Movie of the Week done after me so that Cafe Society may rip it to shreds.
However, we will have our kids with us.
Which poses a problem.
Our son will cower and hide, this I know for sure. Our daughter, OTOH, is 35# of future hockey goon and ear shreiking screams. We could toss her at them and let her settle the matter. Ok. I’m kidding.
I’d shove Mr. Ujest out to Do Something and I would stay back and protect the kids ( with a magic marker, teddy bear and witty sarcasm.)
Thanks for fueling the flames of my personal nightmares, Philo…hope I can return the favor one day!
I don’t think very many people would say that they *wouldn’t[i/] fight - when it’s mano a mano, resistance would be the natural gut reaction. So yes, I’d go for it, but I’d be fighting to save my own life as much as anyone else’s on that plane.
This is the most sensible post in the thread, I think. It all depends on why the plane is being hijacked. If the hijacker(s) just wanna go to Cuba (although I don’t read about that happening all that much anymore), I wouldn’t see any point in fighting and possibly making a bad situation worse.
On the other hand, if it became clear that the plane was to be used as a weapon, and that there was no possibilty of survival if the hijackers were successful, I expect that nearly everyone on the plane would fight.
Finally, I wonder why we haven’t decided that the best way to avoid this kind of thing is to require that all commercial passenger aircraft have an impregnable steel door, and that the flight crew never open that door during flight, no matter what is happening outside the cockpit. It would seem to me that this strategy would eliminate the possibility of hijacked planes being used as missiles altogether, and significantly reduce the incentive to hijack a plan for any reason. It might be way more effective, and certainly cheaper, than having air marshals on random flights, or even arming pilots, which always seemed kind of pointless to me.
Despite being in the same wight class as Phlosphr, I’ve never been adept at physical confrontation. Trying to avoid machismo and be realistic, I would probably bee too scared to start something, and hoping the air marshal would just shoot the guy, but sure, if you go first Phlosphr, I’d pile on and try to strike a vital spot, maybe try to stick a pen in his eye or something like that.
Airman Doors , that’s the million $ question isn’t it? I have often wondered about how one would tell the difference, assuming fanatics hell-bent on piloting a missile would not be sharing their intentions with the passengers. Probably if they try to replace the pilots. But in this day and age, I think a hijacker would face a radically different, less compliant, and more sceptical flying public…
Anyway, I suspect that the same crowd that brought you 9/11 would use different means for any encore, one where the level of attention is not yet as high, like perhaps a tanker truck or propane truck, a FedEx flight, or a rusty old freighter filled to the gunwales with explosives.
The problem is, though, that in the post-9/11 world, we almost have to assume that the hijacking will fall under scenario number 2. Sure, the hijackers might try to tell you that they just want to fly somewhere, but you don’t really know what they have planned. I think in the split seconds you have to make the decision, fighting would really be the only option.
This is an interesting question, because i think that the whole 9/11 disaster actually put an end to commercial airline hijackings in the traditional sense. Any hijacker now, even one who just wants to be flown to some strange destination, or who wants to make a political point, has to know that the passengers are almost certain to try and foil the attempt. For passengers, the old days of sitting in your seat and hoping everything turns out OK are gone. The stakes have been raised, and i think any hijacking attempt would be countered by the passengers in short order, on the assumption that to do nothing is to die anyway.
I like how brave everyone is when the question is purely hypothetical. The truth is until you’ve had a gun pointed in your face, you don’t know what the hell you’d do.
If the pilots are dead like in 9/11, then there really is no point in fighting. You might have a slim chance of survival if you do nothing. Maybe the hijackers will chicken out or something. If you go with the “Let’s roll” scenario, all you’re doing is making sure that everyone on the plane will die and who knows what you’ll hit on the ground.
If I’m on a plane, I’d just as soon not have any would be heros making decisions about whether my family or I should be martyred for America.
As was stated, it would depend on the situation, and what the hijackers wanted. I also agree that it would be hard to believe that they just want to fly to Cuba. As for taking over the plane and crashing anyway, I’d like to think that I could at least aim that sucker towards the center of a field rather than the middle of a city. That alone would be worth the fight, 220 dead on a plane beats a few thousand dead on the ground somewhere.
I’d fight. I don’t know about some people, but I’d rather not trust my life in the hands of terrorists. If death was inevitable, I would rather it be in an effort to preserve more lives rather than an effort to extinguish them.
I am pretty apathetic about some things, but this type of situation is something that would definitely stir me to action. If the pilots are dead, that doesn’t mean the result is inevitable, perhaps a passenger can fly the plane, if anything it is better than leaving it to the terrorists.
I’ve had guns pointed at me, both civilian and military, I’ve been shot at, both civilian and military, and I can tell you straight out that my own personal history shows that I would be unable to be passive if something like that happened.
It may be a hypothetical for you, but it’s certainly not for me.
While you might not know what is on the ground below you, it’s far better (looking at the big picture) to collect a few random people on the ground than well over 3,000, although that’s small consolation to the ones that die.
I sure have. I’ve flown, let’s see… about 25 times since September 11th (the first time was about a week afterward), and it’s pretty inescapable. If it was a suicide-type hijacking, I sure hope I would. If you resist there’s at least a chance you’d survive.
The presumtion would be that the terrorists are trying in vain to get into the cockpit, and I’m right there in 1st class, looking at a guy with an improvised knife device. Maybe they have already killed someone, maybe not. The assumtion was in 911 that they killed people immediately to instill fear, and make the passengers obey. They probably lied and said they wanted to fly to a safe zone or what have you. However, after you see a flight attendent stabbed or otherwise incapacitated, fear is inevitable. Personally, if I saw this, I’d feel they were not hell bent on flying somewhere, but on using the flight as an improvisd missle.
Statistics would say, the likelihood of them having a gun would be slim due in no small part to the security measures. Granted that is complete conjecture, but I’d say the stats are in favor of no gun.
That said, I’d stand by my first reaction. I’d fight, to the death if need be. However, in a hypothetical situation like described, my last comment is galent but built upon a straw foundation. I truly do not know what I would do. I do know my body posesses faculties that would allow me to utilize the adrenaline pulsating through my veins. I’d fight. If there was a gun involved…I may fight as well. Or at least use some semblence of logic to make sure they don’t blow a hatch if unable to enter the cock pit.