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Do you think it is a good idea to have armed guards on planes as an anti-terrorism measure?

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As long as the guards are trustworthy.. Unfortunately that has not been true in many cases lately

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No way. What if there's an unnecessary shooting inside a plane? From what I read, a single bullet is enough to bring a plane down. You kill the supposed terrorist, and the rest of the passengers too.

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Air Marshals have been flying on US planes for years, as well as in Isreal, who usually has two guards per flight. They are highly trained and unknown to the rest of the passengers. In decades of flying, not one plane has been hijacked nor brought down by a bullet with guards onboard. The problem is their are not enough of them for all flights. If properly skilled, I`m for it.

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Pump24

In decades of flying, not one plane has been hijacked nor brought down by a bullet with guards onboard

US planes have been flying with 2 armed agents since 9-11, not for decades. And El Al have just 6 planes, you only wonder how their security is. No way for someone with even matches to board their planes. You can't take these two countries as models for the rest of the world.

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LostinNagoya, the US Air Marshal program was created in 1963 by President Kennedy. That would be decades. The program downsized over the years but never went away, yet 9/11 brought it back ten fold. True the US and EI are not models for the world, but then no one seems to be trying to blow up planes elsewhere.

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I don't think that having a visible armed guard would make anything better. That's what's being discussed, right, as other readers have pointed out there are already armed guards (aka air marshals) who accompany the planes.

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Many countries deploy armed air marshals on commercial flights in and out of their airports, among them Canada, Australia, Great Britain, Austria, Germany and others. Anyone who is on a flight with a homicidal jihadist on board is going to hope there is an armed air marshal on board.

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Better to have black belt trained karate experts instead of with arms

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Air marshals incognito onboard, yes. Armed guards visible, no.

That'd only reassure the passengers wanting a visible presence.

I'd be more reassured that air marshals are on board a flight incognito.

Also I'd be even more reassured when vital information from concerned relatives of potential terrorists are listened to early enough to prevent future hijacking attempts from occurring.

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Only if you have reasons for be paranoid, travel in an airline that can be targeted, or in a plane full of potential targets or fly close to a potential target. For japanese these is like asking: "do you believe that install metal detectors in schools is a good idea?".

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I think it's better if nobody aboard has guns, and nobody aboard has explosives. It's unlikely that an armed guard would be much use unless he happened to be sitting next to someone with explosives, and someone who is planning to blow himself up is unlikely to be deterred by armed guards.

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Air Marshals have been flying on US planes for years, as well as in Isreal, who usually has two guards per flight. They are highly trained and unknown to the rest of the passengers. In decades of flying, not one plane has been hijacked nor brought down by a bullet with guards onboard. The problem is their are not enough of them for all flights. If properly skilled, I`m for it.

Second that. But prevention still is the best medicine, like the full body scans now employed at Amsterdam airport after the infamous Ams-Detroit incident.

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Yeah ,it is good idea to have highly trained , armed guard on the plane and sit next to the suspect...if you are highly trained you should know your target before anybody else realize it.

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Guards on airbus(747s),might as well put them ,also on tourist buses too.

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Better to have black belt trained karate experts instead of with arms

Air marshals are proficient in close quarter combat (CQC). The use of a firearm is a last option - an option that has to be available to ensure success of the air marshal's mission.

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yup...guns, knives, brass knuckles, nunchuks, pepper spray

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No. Vulcan death grip.

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Armed guards would only be handy in situations like hijack or any other form of commotion on board. Otherwise, if we talk of a jihadist planning to blow him/herself in mid air, the so called air marshals would simply be victims like the rest of the passengers. Therefore the only best medicine to prevent this is to make sure no one gets on board with explosives. Even an armed guard, like anyone else, can also have a bad day and decide to take it out on the plane. You know, sometimes things like divorces tend to end in an ugly way. That's my thought though.....

So as for guns, I don't think its really a good idea to have them on board.

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This is a question of real debate and a hard one to find an effective solution.

Here you have people in an enclosed mode of transportation at 33,000ft to which you would feel more comfortable have an armed Marshal on board, which means 2 things 1) 1 hole through the plane you have trouble. 2) The terrorist is more agitated dealing with an armed apponent.

Now to imagine a terrorist getting a gun on board a flight in itself is inexcusable giving all the security checks, but explosives are different.

I actually liked the Idea of black belt trained marshals on board who properly trained can efectively take out the threat.

Maybe all airline staff should have martial arts training, in some form.

Also putting this kind of debate out into the public forum, is I find a little strange giving the fact Im sure airlines take security of its passangers very seriously and their security plans should be secret from the public for it to be effective.

Our personal security at home is our own responsibility, but when we travel, we are in the hands of others, extreemly difficult.

How ever to the question at hand, many airports around the world, London, Singapore etc have armed guards, but to put them visibly on planes, it will not deter terrorists, given the fact the are so focused on their task, and explosives seem the prefered method now.

I`d say no, keep it secret, out in the open just Hightens the tension.

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The problem is, let's take the recent incident on Christmas for example. What could a armed guard do in this situation? Shoot the guy? Don't you think that would create more trouble then it would be. Also I'm not sure the rational of shooting a guy with explosives attached to him? Darwin here?

The problem is, most terrorists if they are hell bent on destroying something are not going to stand up and say "hey i'm a bad guy shoot me". They are good to prevent hijacking, though if cockpit doors are properly bulletproofed and locked at all times and they have no access to the cockpit then that is another story. But for someone with an explosive item?

The need for air marshals and armed guards on planes would be negated if proper real security was done on the ground on the first place.

Also since 9/11 and we have seen numerious cases where passengers will take things into their own hands, imagine a fight, air marshal shows up and starts shooting everyone, it's a disaster waiting to happen. Not withstanding having a gun onboard in the first place poses problems, what if the guard is overpowered and then the terrorists now have a gun? Alternate items are unarmed officers trained in hand to hand combat, or officers equipped with tazers and such.

Armed guards on planes makes grandma and joe public "feel" safer, but can you imagine the chaos of shooting a guy with explosives strapped to himself on a plane with 300 people?

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Also I'm not sure the rational of shooting a guy with explosives attached to him?

The air marshals are trained and skilled at taking a head shot. That may be the only way to stop a terrorist from setting the detonator that will set off the main charge. That is the reason that the British anti-terrorist police delivered seven head shots at close range on the Brazilian mistaken for a terrorist on the Stockwell subway after he had already been overpowered.

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That is the reason that the British anti-terrorist police delivered seven head shots at close range on the Brazilian mistaken for a terrorist on the Stockwell subway after he had already been overpowered.

Why the example of an innocent being executed by mistake for a "trained" security officer dont make me fell "safer"?

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Why not, give the whole world of travellers another reason not to fly on an American airline. No thank you!

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Tasers yes, bullets NO!

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Yes a good example, no terrorists killed, innocent person killed by mistake. Or the case where air marshals shot the guy at Flordia's airport, another non-terrorist. The problem is, those are not the last cases I fear it will happen again where some innocent joe will be killed.

Imagine on a plane where passengers are fighting with someone, someone yells terrorist, air marshal shows up, head shot, and it turns out the guy was some ordinary drunk or someone who doesn't speak the language but was pointed out because he looks foreign.

The truth is, terrorists are not going to stand up and say "hey I'm a terrorist shoot me", if they are going to act they are going to act fast. THANKFULLY it has been idiots in these bothed attacks both of which were tackled by passengers with no air marshals on board.

The best option I see is full body scans and effective security on the ground to prevent explosives from getting on board planes. Armed guards maybe effective in preventing Hijacking, but so are re-enforced cockpit doors, they can't hijack a plane if they can't access the front. But I question the effectiveness in preventing incident like the Christmas incident this past Christmas, the incident would of probably been prevented if body scans were used on the ground at the airports.

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Terrorists are willing to die. Having an armed guard is not going to deter that fact. It just heightens the possibility that something awful will happen.

What may deter such incidents may be the fast-acting passengers and flight crew. Perhaps we should have "how to subdue terrorists" on the printed card in the seat pockets.

As for that Christmas incident... if the FATHER of the terrorist CALLS you (US Embassy) and tells you there is DANGER... DON'T (TSA) let the kid board for goodness sake. Revoke the visa. What are these people doing??????

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Armed guards provided by the government or the airlines?

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It will be effective in an attempted hikjack, but not in the case of a suicide bomb. Considering how rammed a 747 or Dc10 is, how would they get to someone nicely tucked away in a window seat? If his bomb works, then kaboom - the plane goes down, if not, you over-power the guy like Richard Reid and this Nigerian flop.

It hardly matters if they are trained in ninjitsu or the Darth arts if the bomb actually works.

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lmshea, yes. tasers do seem the way to go. also would cut down on the chance of innocents getting shot.

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& not to mention that a bullet could put a nice whole in the plane.

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How many of thousands of flights take off each day? Marshalls on all of them? Guy goes to the toilet and detonates himself and the marshall does what. Some clown earlier said the marshall should sit next to the suspect...duhhhhh.... maybe not let suspect on the plane?

So, dinner plates are cleared away, half the plane heads for the toilets, you see one of the heads appearing above the seats as as possible suspect so you open fire? On a packed plane?

The chances of an air marshall on one of many thousands of flights needing to first identify and then eliminate a "terrorist" are so incredibly small it does not warrant consideration. Where does the air marshall sit? Row 37 E? how is he able from his seat decide who is a threat 25 rows up? And does he get air points?

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There are two types of terrorists on planes: the guy sitting quietly with a bomb in his jockey shorts, and, like 9/11, the guy who stands up with an implied weapon and physically tries to take over the plane. Truthfully, an air marshal would only be able to take on the latter. I agree with having air marshals, but understand they were created during an era where a guy pulls a weapon, stands and makes demands. If the TSA did their job, and with an air marshal on board, the chances of a safe flight are much greater.

Where they sit, how annonymous are they, gun vs. taser, when do they intervene and can a bullet down a plane, etc...so much speculation by most posters. I recommend researching what the air marshals do. I had a friend do this job for two years, and his training was immense. He also said it was the most boring gig of his life. My response to him was I hoped all his flights were boring...

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badge:

" The problem is, most terrorists if they are hell bent on destroying something are not going to stand up and say "hey i'm a bad guy shoot me". "

No. But they fit a profile, part of which is that they are hell-bent (pardon the pun) to blow themselves up in infidel plane in order to go to paradise. So they are on a mission and determined.

And you know what? The vast majority of people are not professional actors. When Israeli security experts are interviewed about the main thing that El Al does that is different from other airlines they say it is that they look at people. They look them in the eyes, they talk to them.

While we, full of political correctness are looking at things only.

El Al has not suffered a loss in 20 years. And that in spite of being the prime target for every jihadi in the world.

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If you choose to mix things up just to support your argument then you have no argument, terrorists that are intent on blowing themselves and the plane up are not going to be stopped by an armed guard. But then as 9-11 incident showed there are terrorists that would try to hijack a plane and it those that an armed guard might just be able to deal with. I say might be able to deal with because even on the ground guards in places like banks don’t always manage to stop attacks, but they do most of the time.

Guards simply improve the odds in the passengers favour and as for guns, well guns can be used with half and or quarter load so as to reduce the chances of fatal damage to the aircraft. A dead innocent now and again might just be a price worth paying if it meant we never again had to risk hijackings.

Yes Tazers are a good idea, but they don’t always bring a person down, they have to make contact with the body and they don’t always do that. Making a crazed terrorist unhappy by ineffectually firing a Tazer at him might not be the best way to go.

But then half the battle is leading the terrorist to believe that he will not be unopposed, they may not be too concerned about their own survival, but they do want to succeed, stacking the odds against them might act as a deterrent, to some degree and even a degree can make a difference.

By the way, bringing a plane down with a single bullet is possible, but the chances of doing so are very low, you really would have to aim at a vulnerable part of the plane and there are not as many of those as you might think. The idea makes good cinema, but the reality is a little different, as always.

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Imagine on a plane where passengers are fighting with someone, someone yells terrorist, air marshal shows up, head shot, and it turns out the guy was some ordinary drunk or someone who doesn't speak the language but was pointed out because he looks foreign.

The TSA also profiles people based on body language.

Back in August 2009 the TSA had Philedelphia police, and later the FBI, brought in because they had profiled a college student based on his body language. It turned out the student had been to Sudan and Egypt, and was on his way to Jordan to study.

When asked about his Arabic-to-English flashcards with the words "terrorist" and "explosion" among the words used, he explained that he was using them to help him understand al Jazeera news.

After questioning him for several hours, they let him go. And for making him miss his flight, they gave him another ticket to Jordan.

Let's hope this fellow is a student studying abroad.

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