Monday, February 2, 2009

Airport Security Issues

Airport Security Issues
Old information but good to remember

The unprecedented events of 11 September 2001 has made security an extremely high priority in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world. Although there has been an increase in the level of security at many airports, the advice on this page should provide an overview of what to expect when you are traveling through many of the world's airports.

General Security Guidelines

Carry-On Baggage:
· Air travelers are limited to one carry-on bag and one personal item (such as a purse or briefcase) on all flights. Something to consider is a clear bag for ease of going through the inspection. These bags can be found at
Allow extra time:
· The heightened measures require more time to properly screen travelers. Travelers should contact their airline to find out how early they should arrive at the airport.
· Take public transportation to the airport if possible. Parking and curbside access is likely to be controlled and limited.
· Curbside check-in is available on an airline-by-airline basis. Travelers should contact their airline to see if it is in place at their airport.
· In the U.S., a passport or other government-issued photo ID (national, state, or local) is required for travelers age 18 and over. If you do not have a photo ID, you can also use two forms of non-photo ID, one of which has to issued by a state or federal agency. Travelers may be asked to show this ID at subsequent points, such as at the gate, along with their boarding passes.
· Automated check-in kiosks are available for airlines that have appropriate security measures in place. Travelers interested in this option should check with their airline.
· E-ticket travelers should check with their airline to make sure they have proper documentation. Written confirmation, such as a letter from the airline acknowledging the reservation, may be required.
Screener checkpoints:
· Only ticketed passengers are allowed beyond the screener checkpoints, except for those with specific medical or parental needs.
· Each traveler will be limited to one carry-on bag and one personal bag (i.e., purse or briefcase).
· All electronic items, such as laptops and cell phones, may be subjected to additional screening. Be prepared to remove your laptop from its travel case so that both can be X-rayed separately.
· Limit the amount of jewelry or other metal objects that you wear.
· Travelers should remove all metal objects prior to passing through the metal detectors in order to facilitate the screening process.

Basic Advice for Air Travel

Allow Extra Time for Special Circumstances
During busy periods, or when traveling with young children, infants, elderly or disabled passengers, you build in even more time.

Do Not Leave Your Car Unattended in Front of the Terminal
Airport parking rules are being strictly enforced and your car may be quickly ticketed and towed.

Keep Your Photo Identification Handy
If you do not have a photo ID, make sure you have two pieces of identification, one of which must be issued by a government authority. Minors are not required to have identification. Failure to have proper identification may result in additional security scrutiny. Some airlines may 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.

Beware of Unattended Packages
If you see an unattended package or bag in the terminal, report it to the airport security staff or other airport authority.
Know What You Are Carrying
Watch your bags while you are at the airport and don’t accept packages from strangers. Be prepared to answer questions about who packed your bags and whether you might have left them unattended at any time. Think carefully and answer honestly--history has shown that criminals and terrorists use unwitting passengers to carry bombs or other dangerous items on board aircraft, either by tricking passengers into carrying packages or by simply slipping items into unwatched bags. If you have any doubts, say so.

Humor is Not an Option
Do not joke about having a bomb or firearm in your possession. Security personnel are trained to react when they hear these words. Penalties can be severe, and can include the possibility of time in prison and/or fines.

Expect to Have Your Bags Searched
Both carry-on and checked bags are subject to being hand-searched, especially when airline security personnel cannot determine by X-ray the contents of a package. Leave gifts unwrapped until after you arrive at your destination. Airline security personnel will open it if X-rays are unable to identify the contents.

Leave Your Firearms and Hazardous Goods at Home
There are many hazardous goods that are either not allowed on the aircraft. Do not pack or carry firearms, fireworks, flammable materials, household cleaners, or pressurized containers. Violations of hazardous materials regulations can lead to severe civil penalties, as well as possible criminal prosecution.