17 Ways to Keep Safe and Secure When Flying
Here are 17 ways to keep safe and secure when flying domestic
or abroad. Air travelers need to keep a sharp eye and an ever-present
focus on what’s going on around them. Even though it has been years
since the September 11, 2001 hijackings, the threat of terrorist
actions against air travelers is still ever present. Not to mention
with the hustle and bustle of a busy airport, this is a prime place
to be potentially burglarized by a professional thief or criminal.
1. Keep Your Photo Identification Handy
If you do not have photo identification, make sure you have two
pieces of some other form of identification, one of which must be
issued by a government authority. Minors are not obligated to have
identification. Failure to have proper identification may result
in additional security inspection and search. Some airlines may
also prohibit you from boarding without proper ID. For international
flights, airlines are required to collect your full name and ask
you for a contact name and phone number.
2. Give Yourself Some Extra Time
During busy hours, or when traveling with
elderly or disabled passengers, young children or infants, give
yourself more than enough time to maneuver through a busy airport
or to make necessary arrangements with airport personnel.
3. Do Not Park Your Vehicle and Leave Unattended
in Front of the Terminal
The airport parking rules are being strictly enforced and your vehicle
may be very swiftly ticketed and towed. So make sure to park in
well-lit, designated areas. Find a parking garage or lot you are
comfortable with and is well populated.
4. Know What You Have with You
Watch your bags all throughout the airport terminal, shops, and
lavatories. Don't accept packages from strangers or persons who
you might have a casual conversation with. Be prepared to answer
questions about who packed your bags and whether you might have
left them unattended at any time. Focus carefully and answer honestly—previous
history has shown terrorists and criminals use unaware passengers
to carry bombs or other dangerous devices on board an aircraft,
either by deceiving passengers into carrying packages or by slipping
items into unprotected bags. If you’re unsure, make it known to
airport security personnel.
5. Beware of Unattended Packages
If you see an unattended package, bag or piece of luggage in the
terminal, report it to the airport security staff or other airport
6. Don’t Fool Around
Don't joke about having a bomb, firearm or weapon with you. Security
personnel are trained to react when they hear these words. Punishment
can be harsh and can include the possibility of time in prison and/or
large penalties and fines.
7. Anticipate Having Your Bag and Luggage Searched
Both carry-on and checked bags are subject to being hand-searched,
especially when airline security personnel cannot determine the
contents by X-ray. Keep gifts unwrapped until after you arrive at
your destination. Airline security personnel will open it if X-ray
machines are unable to identify the contents.
8. Leave Behind Firearms and Hazardous Products
Many hazardous products are not allowed on aircraft. Don’t pack
or carry firearms, fireworks, flammable materials, household cleaners,
or pressurized containers. Violations of hazardous materials regulations
can have harsh civil penalties, as well as possible legal action
taken against you.
9. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
When you are in an airport terminal or on an aircraft, take notice
of your surroundings, and those around you, especially, if activities
or situations don't appear to be of the norm.
10. Report Strange or Odd Activity
If you see anything in the airport or on an aircraft that looks
out of place, unfitting and unusual behavior or potential security
violations, inform either a law enforcement representative or security
11. Have No Bias About Who May Pose a Threat
If someone is intent on perpetrating violent acts against the air
transport system, that person can be of any gender, age, or nationality.
You should not presume any specific type of person is likely to
do damage based on outward appearances.
12. Keep Away from Suspicious Circumstances
If you are exposed to a potential risk in the airport, move away
from the situation before contacting someone in authority. If necessary,
inform others in the vicinity. Examples of these are: unaccompanied
packages, suspicious behavior, or an unusual disturbance.
13. Leave Your Seat Belt Fastened While in Flight
When you are seated, keep your safety belt securely fastened through
your flight will provide extra protection if the plane is in unexpected
14. Focus on What the Flight Attendants Are
The number one reason flight attendants are on an aircraft is for
safety; so if there is any kind of emergency or potential crisis
situation, look to the flight attendants for help and assistance.
15. Remember the Basic Rules for Wireless Devices
In the U.S., cell phones, pagers, and other wireless communications
devices may be used until the passenger entry doors are closed prior
to takeoff. Do not use these devices for routine communications
until the passenger doors are opened at the end of the flight. Rules
vary around the world, so check with your airline.
16. Emergency Use of a Wireless Device
In the event of an in-flight emergency, you should take stock of
the situation before using any communications device, including
the aircraft's seatback telephones. If a situation calls for it,
use your cell phone or other personal device to contact help. In the U.S.,
a helpful number to call is the FBI at 1-866-483-5137. If you are
a flight attendant or other airline employee, contact an appropriate
office or department of the airline.
17. Work Together
If circumstances on an aircraft have the potential for danger, it
is usually better to share information and work together with crewmembers
and other passengers.
By taking the necessary precautions when you fly, you can travel
with a piece-of-mind and have your security on 'high alert' and
ready for anything.
“The Diva of Defense™” is a self-defense instructor, consultant,
speaker, author, and copywriter. With a third degree black belt
and inductee into the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame, Ms. Annese
is a safety advocate teaching thousands each year in school talks,
special events and assemblies in elementary, high schools, and colleges
nationwide. She is also the author of the book: “101 Self Defense
Strategies” and creator of the programs “Diva Defense Training”
and “The SafeGuard System for Kids”. Complete information on Michelle
Annese’s books and other services offered is available from her