Holiday travelers urged to be sensitive to environment

On the afternoon of Jan. 24, 2011, 35 people were killed and 150 injured when two suicide bombers detonated themselves at a crowded arrival gate in a Moscow airport. On March 1, 2011, a man shot and killed two Air Force personnel outside of a Frankfurt Airport terminal. And in April 2011, an attempt was made to hijack Alitalia Flight 329 from Paris to Rome and divert it to Libya. Although no one likes to think about it when they travel, airports and planes are frequently targeted by terrorists, and they will continue to attack them because of the media attention they receive. For this reason, know what to do to protect yourself when traveling — especially during the holidays — when airports and aircraft are operating at full capacity. Consider these measures during your next trip: Upon arriving at the airport, proceed through security checkpoints as soon as possible. The further you are embedded in the security system, the less likely you are to be attacked.

Look for nervous passengers who maintain eye contact with others from a distance. Observe what people are carrying. Note any behavior not consistent with that of others in the area. You wouldn’t leave your carry-on items unattended, so what reason would anyone have to do the same? With this in mind, stay alert for bags, backpacks, paper or plastic bags, briefcases and packages that seem out of place. If you see one, tell an airport employee, and don’t get any closer than you would want to be if the device exploded. Stay away from crowds. Observe the baggage claim area from a distance, and retrieve your bags after the crowd clears. When passing through customs, stay at the edge of the crowd. Those in the middle are more likely to be targeted. If you are carrying an official passport, military ID, travel orders, or other military related documents onto a plane, where you would hide them to avoid being singled out if the plane was hijacked? Good locations are under the seat cushion, between seats or in a magazine. If your plane is hijacked, remain calm, and evaluate the situation. There may be more hijackers than you see. Your response to the situation should depend on your judgment of whether or not the airplane is being skyjacked for purposes of holding hostages or creating a weapon of mass destruction. Surrender your tourist passport if asked for identification. Do not offer any information, but confirm your military status if directly confronted with the fact. Explain that you always travel on your personal passport and that no deceit was intended. In a rescue attempt, lie on the floor until told to rise. Jumping in the air or overpowering terrorists may get you accidently shot.