The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is changing things up regarding where federal air marshals are positioned on flights. Undercover air marshals typically occupy seats toward the front of the plane. This enables them to protect the cockpit and keep an eye out for suspicious behavior. However, the TSA began using a new technique at the end of 2018.
What's changing with air marshals in 2019? The TSA has understandably declined to give too many details regarding the changes that are taking place. However, we do know that undercover marshals will no longer stick to the front of the plane. The new plan involves peppering air marshals throughout airplane cabins. This will allow them to watch passengers more closely and potentially thwart any attacks that are being planned.
The only problem is that federal air marshals aren't exactly getting behind the new policy. A representative speaking on behalf of the nation's air marshals revealed to the press that the men and women working for the Federal Air Marshal Service don't support the changes. Air marshals feel that the changes are unnecessary. It is also believed by many that the changes defy common sense. Members of the Federal Air Marshal Service feel that they have been able to perfect safety practices during the last 17 years. The TSA's decision is being seen as a bureaucratic one that could have negative real-world consequences.
Why are so many air marshals reluctant to follow orders that will place them away from the front of an aircraft? Many air marshals feel that being situated in other areas of a plane could prevent them from reaching a cockpit in time to stop an attack if a breach occurs. It should be noted that the TSA reportedly made its decision to change the default seating position for air marshals without any input from air marshals.