As summer gets into full-swing, more and more people will begin traveling for their yearly summer vacations, crowding airports and highways on their way to enjoy some fun in the sun. Unfortunately, this also means that criminal activity at airports will be on the rise as well. Airports are what we would call a “target rich environment” for criminals – every person traveling in an airport has the potential to become a victim. Travelers are often tired, wary, or distracted, making them the perfect victims. For these reasons, O’Gara Training and Services has compiled a comprehensive list of Airport Safety Trips that you should certainly keep in mind the next time you find yourself flying the not-so-friendly skies.
Before you head to the airport:
- Backup important files and records to a separate hard-drive, or the cloud, or both before you leave for the airport. If your laptop ends up being lost, stolen, or you end up needing to leave it behind, all of your important files will be safe and lessen the impact of losing your laptop.
- Be sure to leave an itinerary of your trip with someone at home. This way, someone back home will have an idea of where you are supposed to be, at which time, on the off chance something goes wrong.
- Make sure to put luggage tags on all of your luggage but be sure to avoid putting your home address on there! Only put down enough information for someone to contact you in the event that your luggage is lost or stolen – such as an email or a phone number.
- Make a list of those objects that you have packed in your checked luggage – that way you can know if anything is lost or stolen in transit.
- Protect yourself and your valuables by placing your medicines and expensive items in your carry-on. Also be sure to safely store important documents, such as your tickets, passports, or travel insurance docs.
Getting to and Leaving the Airport:
- Do not leave your GPS visible in your car, if leaving your car in a long-stay parking lot. Criminals will break in and use them to find your home address and then rob your home while you are away.
- Do not use unofficial taxis. Once in the cab, sit behind the driver so that you can see them, but they cannot see you. Pay while you arrive at your destination and are still sitting in the vehicle.
- Never share a taxi with someone when leaving the airport. Criminals and human traffickers can use this to identify your location and could come back later to rob or kidnap you.
- If you are picking up someone from the airport, try not to sit in the pick-up areas for too long. This can make you a target as well.
At the Airport:
- Dress sensibly. For women, this means avoid wearing skirts, stockings, heels, flip-flops, or shorts. All of these clothing items could interfere or impede movement if you find yourself needing to run in the event of an emergency or needing to use the emergency slide in-flight. You should also avoid wearing any clothing that would cause you to stick out from the crowd – it makes it easier for you to be targeted and followed by criminals.
- Keep your personal belongings with you at all times, never leave your luggage unattended.
- Do not use the bathroom when it is empty – criminals could be waiting outside to follow you in, corner you, and proceed to rob or attack you. If you notice the bathroom is empty, turn around and leave and wait outside until someone else goes inside.
- Take phone calls in private. You never know when someone could be trying to listen in on your conversation to pick up valuable information that they can use to follow you, or to find out your home address.
- If you feel unsafe, always remember that you can ask for an escort.
- You should keep the following items on you at all times: wallet, passport, cash, credit cards, medication, printed list of emergency contact numbers, and a cell phone. These items should be kept in a travel wallet, small cross-body bag/wallet, or fanny pack. Do not remove this item, even during the flight. This way, in the event of an in-flight emergency, you will not lose precious time trying to locate your personal belongings – your travel wallet or cross-body will have everything you absolutely need.
- Pay attention to the safety demonstrations. They may seem tedious and boring, but they provide crucial information for your survival in the event of an in-flight emergency.
- If you are using your own devices for in-flight entertainment, be sure to pause your device whenever the crew is speaking – you might miss out on important information if you ignore it.
- Avoid drinking too much when flying. It is important that you maintain your situational awareness while traveling, and drinking will impair your judgement and senses.
- Do not overshare information with the person next to you on the plane. While it is perfectly fine to enjoy a conversation with your seat-buddy, make sure to avoid giving too much information about your destination, or your travel plans.
O’Gara is dedicated to spreading our mission of Safety, Security and Survivability™ to all. If you wish to learn more about how to keep yourself safe while traveling, please do not hesitate to contact us!