What Can We Do? How travelers can help make the airport security process easier
by Catherine Comer & Lavon Swaim
With the horrific attack on the United States on September 11th, travel security will forever change. Airports worldwide will be forced to implement stricter security measures than ever before. How can the average traveler aid in making the process easier?
Become an Educated Traveler
Listen to the experts! Aviation and security experts are diligently working to keep all travelers safe. Television, radio, newspapers, and the Internet are providing ongoing reports on new security measures at airports around the world. Know what to expect when you travel. Find out, ahead of time, what the security process will be at airports on your itinerary.
Arrive at the Airport Early
Officials are estimating that it can take a minimum of 2 hours for travelers to check in, proceed through security and arrive at the departure gate. Allow extra time if traveling in groups, with children, or if you have special physical needs.
Have Your Photo Identification and Airline Ticket Available at all Times
You must have at least one piece of photo identification that has been issued by a government agency. Keep this in a secured place, however, be prepared to show your airline ticket and photo ID at the ticket counter upon check-in, at security checkpoints, and at the gate.
Answer All Security Questions Honestly
Know what is packed in your bag. Airport security personnel will ask you if you have packed your own bag, if your luggage has been out of your sight at any time, and if anyone unknown to you has asked you to carry a package for them.
Answer All Questions Truthfully
If you feel that your bag has either been outside of your possession or has been tampered with, immediately report it to security.
Security is Not a Joking Matter
Do not make light of, or insinuate that you have any weapons in your possession. All statements will be taken seriously and consequences can be severe.
Cooperate with Airport Security Personnel
Airport security personnel have the right to search your luggage. Keep in mind that this is for your protection. Aid in this process by having luggage ready and keys to locks available.
Know What You Can and Cannot Bring With You
Regulations have changed for items that are allowed on planes. Leave all knives, scissors, sharp objects, or any items that can be used as a weapon at home.
Keep an Eye on your Luggage at all Times
Never leave bags unattended. When using the airport restrooms, make sure you take your bags into the stall with you, use the security hooks, and take care not to leave straps accessible to someone outside the stall.
Prepare for Delays
Pack items in your carry-on to get you through the first 48 hours of your trip. Essential items to include are a bottle of water, snack food, prescriptions, contact numbers of loved ones at home, extra cash, credit card and phone card, and a small first aid kit. Comfort items such as an inflatable pillow, travel blanket, toiletries and reading material can make delays more tolerable.
Veteran travelers, Catherine Comer and Lavon Swaim hold degrees in tourism management and own TravelingSafe.com, a company focused on providing travel safety information. With 25 years of travel experience and 2 years of research, they have now written their first book, "The Traveling Woman, Great Tips for Safe and Healthy Trips" now available from Impact publications. They conduct workshops to women of all ages teaching them how to stay safe and healthy while traveling. Catherine and Lavon can be reached at TravelingSafe.com, PO Box 824, Gresham, OR 97030 or through their website www.TheTravelingWoman.net.