Photo Credit: Darrell Godliman
It Really Is A Small World
Our society and our business rely on air travel. Visiting far away family members, flying to that important business meeting, or simply widening our horizons by seeing other places and people all make the world a much smaller place. But since the 1970s terrorists have targeted airplanes with attacks because the high number of casualties from one attack makes a big impact on the public.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, approximately 730 million people travel through American airports every year carrying about 700 million pieces of luggage with them. That’s a lot of people and baggage that has to be screened for security risks.
The Transportation Security Administration won’t actually say how many terrorist attacks they might have stopped, but if you go to their website you can see what kinds of articles they find in luggage every day that somebody has tried to sneak onto a plane. Knives, flare guns, inert landmines, small pieces of C4 explosive, as well as over 1200 fire arms in 2010.
Keeping Us Safe
Most of the people caught with these things aren’t trying to highjack a plane. They either forgot they had them, or didn’t think it was a big deal to bring them on a plane. But some people are trying to do harm and security measures in place at airports do a good job of stopping them.
It starts with the fences around airports. These are the first line of defense against people who want to get into secure areas or bypass the security screening procedures. Add regular security patrols and surveillance cameras throughout the airport and it’s difficult for people to sneak in from the outside.
Screening passengers for dangerous objects is the security measure that most of us are familiar with. That starts with requiring IDs at check in to make sure you are who you say you are. Then there are the ever present metal detectors and x-ray machines for carry-on luggage. And since many terrorists try to sneak explosives onto checked baggage they x-ray that as well.
It Never Ends
It’s important to remember that although all these measures are extremely effective at keeping the bad guys from harming us at airports, there will never be a time when we won’t have to worry about airport security. They are always looking for new ways to harms us so the security officials must be constantly looking for new ways to stop them.
Passengers also have some responsibility for their own security and that of their fellow passengers. Check the TSA website before your flight for the latest security screening procedures, as well as a list of forbidden items. Always obey the instructions of the TSA officials when going through the screening process. Never try to deal with any suspicious behavior or packages yourself but report them to the nearest TSA official or airport security.
It isn’t difficult to find horror stories about people who have had to wait in line for extended periods of time or who were subject to security checks that were somewhat excessive. Rather than finding yourself overwhelmed or frustrated while at the airport for your next business trip or vacation, understanding all of the requirements ahead of time and repairing yourself will make your trip a lot more enjoyable. This means showing up well ahead of your scheduled departure time and being prepared for the types of inconveniences and delays that are becoming all too common in the modern world of air travel.
Stephanie Frasco wrote this article about staying safe while traveling.