The US Federal Air Marshal program seems to be in the news a lot recently. First airlines are trying to kick them out of first class, then they get detained in Brazil but still get back to the US with magic new documents.
I don’t know too much about the second situation so I’ll talk about the first.
It was common knowledge on FlyerTalk that FAMs sat in the second row aisles. They were on board even before any preboarders. They had a military looking hair cut and did not usually have much with them. They also didn’t sit there playing sudoku on their blackberry during boarding. All of these descriptions are readily available online so the FAM program did mix things up. Some anonymous FAMs who post on FT do say that FAMs are often in coach.
I used to think FAMs should indeed be in the very back of the plane. After all, how can you see what is going on in the rest of the plane if it is all behind you? Sure they had easy access to the cockpit, but other than that they were far away. Then I thought about it more and from the back of the plane someone could take out that flight, but if the flight deck is breached then more people could lose their life. A drunk lady on a plane is hardly the situation that would require FAMs to out themselves, but I wasn’t there.
Really the FAMs just seem to constantly get in the news for unrelated instances.