On the afternoon of Jan. 24, 2011, 35 people were killed and 150 injured when two suicide bombers detonated at a crowded arrival gate in a Moscow Airport.
On the morning of March 1, 2011, a man shot and killed two Air Force personnel outside of a Frankfurt Airport terminal. And in April, 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.
Terrorists will continue to attack them because of the media attention that 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 arrival to 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 behavior not consistent with that of others in the area.
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 remain any closer than you would want to be if the device exploded. You wouldn’t leave your carry-on items unattended, what reason would anyone have to do the same?
Stay away from crowds. Observe the baggage claim area from a distance and retrieve your bags after the crowd clears. When passing customs, stay at the edge of the crowd. Those in the middle are more likely to be targeted.
If you use a tourist passport, place your official passport, military ID, travel orders, and related documents in your checked luggage, not in your wallet or briefcase.
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.