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 a few years since the September 11th 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 Left 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 personnel immediately.
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 by X-ray machines the contents of one. 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 at Home.
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 national 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 personnel.
11. Have No Bias About the 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 turbulence.
14. Focus on What the Flight Attendants Are Saying.
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 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 crew members 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.
Michelle Annese is a 3rd degree black belt with 15+ years experience teaching self defense and safety for women and children. She is a World Martial Arts Hall of Fame inductee for Achievement and creator of The Realtor Survival Guide, Protection for Women, and The SafeGuard System for Kids. For more information on how to protect yourself and your family go to http://www.michelleannese.com to get her free weekly safety tips e-newsletter.