Air Marshal on Chinese Flights?

Old May 25, 18, 3:06 am
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Air Marshal on Chinese Flights?

So to follow up on my latest observations of Chinese flights, I've noticed that there frequently seems to be a male security officer on board? He seems to sit in the first row of economy (bulkhead seat). He's not dressed in an FA uniform, so it leads me to think he's someone else. I used to think he was just a rude passenger because he'd get up during taxi and fumble through the overhead bins for his stuff. I looked closely last time and he pulled out a notebook and a magazine and threw it on his seat during taxi and sat back down.

Is he an actual FA or there for security? I'm a little confused because he doesn't seem to perform normal FA duties. Can anyone explain what this guy is for? We frequently hear of nightmare passengers, so maybe he's there to deal with them?
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Old May 25, 18, 4:30 am
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He is one of the security team...the leader will usually find a space in first class, or the back of business. When they announce at the beginning of the flight that there are penalties for disturbing the order of the cabin, they actually mean it! And when they say that there will be audio and video files, they also mean that. I found nd it strangely comforting. Of course it doesnít stop passengers (mostly elderly Chinese) getting up and opening the overhead bins while the plane is still taxiing.
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Old May 27, 18, 5:29 am
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Bǎo āns do not provide comfort. They are little more than paid thugs.
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Old May 28, 18, 1:19 am
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Originally Posted by onuhistorian0116 View Post
Bǎo āns do not provide comfort. They are little more than paid thugs.
They sometimes help out with the food service and stuff like that on the flight. Nowadays I've seen more than a few wearing a body camera to record the action in the cabin. Must be a very boring job.
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Old May 29, 18, 9:18 am
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By law Chinese airlines are required to have one security officer (air marshal as US know, in Chinese An Quan Yuan) on domestic flight and at least one in international flight. They always sit in first row or second row aisle seats in domestic flight. Very noticeable. On International flight they move around, sometimes in Business class sometimes in crew seats. I have yet to learn what is the international flight procedure yet.
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Old May 30, 18, 10:23 pm
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Originally Posted by chongcao View Post
By law Chinese airlines are required to have one security officer (air marshal as US know, in Chinese An Quan Yuan) on domestic flight and at least one in international flight. They always sit in first row or second row aisle seats in domestic flight. Very noticeable. On International flight they move around, sometimes in Business class sometimes in crew seats. I have yet to learn what is the international flight procedure yet.
It is interesting, in the U.S. Air Marshallís are supposed to blend in, only be noticeable when something happens, in China they are a huge presence. I guess it is all part of Mr. Xiís plan to make sure the security force is felt by all.
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Old May 31, 18, 1:04 am
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Doubt itís anything to do with Xi. Itís a matter of approach. In Chinese airlines, itís clearly meant to deter antisocial behaviour, in US itís element of surprise. Personally I prefer the PRC approach..,on the whole I want fewer people running round an aircraft with guns, not more. Others will have the opposing view.
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Old Jun 3, 18, 8:47 pm
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How common are Air Marshals on US flights? It seems almost every incident in the news results in an Air Marshal jumping in, so it makes me wonder if it's quite common? I personally never looked for the, and given they in general blend in on US flights, it's not that obvious.

Now Chinese flights are definitely quite interesting. In response to @Bub001's post, I've found that they mostly grab the first row in domestic. Most of my flights are A320/321s and occasionally A330s. I've got a domestic flight today, so I will observe again. I'm sitting in the second row of premium economy and I noticed the bulkhead seats in premium are already blocked. The last time I remember the air marshal sitting in that row. It seems like an interesting job. They do seem to help the FAs out but only half-assedly. Other times they roam around the cabin unnecessarily opening up overhead bins, shifting their belongings from the bags to their seat and in reverse.
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Old Jun 11, 18, 5:30 am
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Originally Posted by Bub001 View Post
Doubt itís anything to do with Xi. Itís a matter of approach. In Chinese airlines, itís clearly meant to deter antisocial behaviour, in US itís element of surprise. Personally I prefer the PRC approach..,on the whole I want fewer people running round an aircraft with guns, not more. Others will have the opposing view.
I moved to China in 2013, and have lived here ever since. Over the last 5 years, security has gotten much more strict and noticeable. Beijing subway now has metal detectors, you even now need to go through a metal detector to enter PVG. Further, customs has become more strict, when I first arrived I rarely had to scan my bag when entering the country, now everybody has to. Now all foreigners have to be finger printed at the passport check, it is even common for Z-visa applicants to have to travel to the embassy or consulate to be finger printed. On Sunday morning, I returned to China after a brief international trip, and every single person was stopped at quarantine to have their temperature taken. Apparently they has been an outbreak of measles in the region, but I am curious to see if that is the new normal as well.
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Old Jun 11, 18, 5:29 pm
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Originally Posted by onuhistorian0116 View Post


I moved to China in 2013, and have lived here ever since. Over the last 5 years, security has gotten much more strict and noticeable. Beijing subway now has metal detectors, you even now need to go through a metal detector to enter PVG. Further, customs has become more strict, when I first arrived I rarely had to scan my bag when entering the country, now everybody has to. Now all foreigners have to be finger printed at the passport check, it is even common for Z-visa applicants to have to travel to the embassy or consulate to be finger printed. On Sunday morning, I returned to China after a brief international trip, and every single person was stopped at quarantine to have their temperature taken. Apparently they has been an outbreak of measles in the region, but I am curious to see if that is the new normal as well.
Having been in Qingdao in the run up to the recent SCO summit, all of the above is nothing compared to what security was in place throughout the city. It was causing a fair bit of inconvenience.
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Old Jun 14, 18, 11:13 am
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There has been an "air marshal" on Chinese flights for forever. I often end up sitting in that bulkhead aisle seat because I buy last minute tickets and by virtue of status they give me those seats. The announcement is pre-recorded (I've met maybe one AM that could really speaking English) and really directed to Chinese people who are flying for the first time. You know the ones that open the door to get fresh air before take off, or steal all the life vests thinking that's part of the airfare.
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Old Nov 19, 18, 2:18 am
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Rude Chinese Air Marshal

So hubby and I were on board Sichuan Air from China to LAX. It was a long flight so hubby found an empty seat in the front row behind first class. I sat there for a few seconds when I was approached by a man wearing a uniform ( later found out he is an air marshal). He told me I'm in his seat in a very rude, entitled manner (which surprised me even for a Chinese). I said , oh I'm sorry I didn't know, and moved to the row behind him. Well, he plopped himself aggressively in the seat and the back of the chair hit me. I confronted him with his passive aggression which lead to an exchange of words and some inaudible yelling from him. I decided to go back to my assigned seat but this man followed me to my seat intimidating me like he was like going to hit or push me to my seat if I don't move out of his way even though he was following me. A few minutes later, still before take off, the cabin crew apologized to me because of this man's behavior and mentioned that he always acts like this and motioned he has a big head.

Anybody else have had an unfavorable encounter like me? Other non-Chinese passengers were surprised with his display of authority as well. Is this common cultural behavior? I'm disgusted by his blatant show of power.
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Old Nov 19, 18, 4:13 am
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Originally Posted by Cheeksngiggles View Post
Anybody else have had an unfavorable encounter like me?
No.... but then again I try to sit in the seat to which I was assigned.....
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Old Nov 19, 18, 10:12 am
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Originally Posted by Paella747 View Post
No.... but then again I try to sit in the seat to which I was assigned.....
I usually board after the air marshal. There is often another empty seat or two in the same row.
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Old Nov 20, 18, 1:40 am
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
I usually board after the air marshal. There is often another empty seat or two in the same row.

.....and if there are empty seats with questionable availability, I always ask before I move (and sometimes wait for the door to close)......
I don't fly Chinese as much as others here, but when I do, I've never had any issues with air marshals.

I do love when Air China rotates into the air while the safety vid is still playing.....
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