Are jet aircraft still at risk of hijacking by people wielding melee weapons (as opposed to explosives)?

I thought that aircraft were designed post-9/11 such that passengers can't enter the cockpit, but Wikipedia's list of hijackings mentions incidents this decade which involved melee weapons:

China June 29, 2012: an attempt was made to hijack Tianjin Airlines Flight GS7554 from Hotan to Ürümqi. Six people tried to hijack the aircraft 10 minutes after take-off. There were 6 police officers on board. Four were in plain clothes, taking the plane for a business trip. The hijackers used aluminium canes with sharpened tips to attack the members of the crew. The police officers and civilians on board subdued the hijackers, all of whom were of Uyghur ethnicity. The plot was foiled and the plane returned to Hotan in 22 minutes after takeoff.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome! Could you provide the reference of a case where a passenger entered the cockpit since 2010? The list you currently reference seems to include only cases of alleged bomb on board, and copilot involvement. I understand attack the members of the crew as a violence against the flight attendants, in the cabin. The latter type of threats cannot be prevented, as so many objects can be used against a person in the cabin (a belt can be used to strangle someone) $\endgroup$ – mins Jul 9 '16 at 13:12

United Airlines Flight 93 history shows that melee weapons are not very efficient: the passengers that are likely to outnumber hijackers at least ten to one can win if they are willing to fight.

The question remains, how likely is that passengers will go into risks to show the resistance. If it is just about changing the course to land in the different airport, they may choose to be quiet. If they have nothing to lose, I think the hijackers have no chances.

  • $\begingroup$ You might want to rethink citing a case in which everybody died as an example of ineffectual hijacking. $\endgroup$ – DJClayworth Jul 11 '16 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ It is still a hopeless failure for plan the hijackers have had, very discouraging from trying again. $\endgroup$ – h22 Jul 13 '16 at 6:34

There are two answers.

Practically speaking: no.

Technically speaking: yes, but only if they meet little to no resistance from the passengers or crew.

Passengers in the US have proven on several occasions that they will fight (and even kill) troublemakers on airliners. Many flight crews are armed, too. I think passengers understand that "modern" hijackers probably intend to destroy the airplane in some highly visible, highly destructive fashion. Given the option of simply riding the plane into the ground or getting wounded fighting against a hijacker, most people will arrive at the conclusion that they are more likely to survive by fighting back (even if hijackers claim to have a bomb).

Personally, if presented with the option of being slashed with a box cutter or killed in a plane crash, I'll take my chances against the box cutter...and I think two or three other large guys would join me.

  • $\begingroup$ "Many flight crews are armed": You're likely talking about the US, because in nearly all other countries carrying a weapon, unless you are in the police, is illegal. $\endgroup$ – mins Jul 10 '16 at 0:19
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, in the US. Part of "Security Theater" brought to you by the DHS. $\endgroup$ – acpilot Jul 10 '16 at 0:23
  • $\begingroup$ Israeli airline El Al also has armed staff. $\endgroup$ – Andrew Grimm Jul 10 '16 at 0:29

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