Every time we hear about something going terribly wrong in an airport (such as the recent events in Ft. Lauderdale), it makes us wonder if it is, in fact, safe to fly. The truth is that the general public can’t predict or prepare for an extreme event. In order to not live in fear and to feel comfortable flying again, it’s helpful to follow certain safety precautions and invest in travel insurance. Here are a few tips for staying safe while traveling.
1. Stay alert – Being aware of your surroundings and your proximity to other people will help you remain guarded. If you have your head down because you’re reading or working on your laptop, frequently look up to see what’s going on around you. If you’re wearing earphones, turn the volume down or take one out so that you can stay tuned in to what’s happening.
2. Keep your bags close to you – Check your luggage as soon as you arrive so you only have to worry about your carry-on items. Keep them next to you at all times. If you’re sitting, don’t leave a backpack on your back, where it can be accessed by someone. Keep it in front of you, ideally with an arm or leg looped through one of the straps.
3. Trust your gut – If you feel unsafe at a particular airport or destination because of an event that just occurred there, reschedule your trip or cancel it, if possible. Remember that travel insurance will only reimburse you if you cancel your trip for specific covered reasons. Being worried or feeling unsafe is not a typical covered reason but many plans that offer terrorism coverage will allow you to cancel if a terrorist attack happens in your destination city within a set time frame from your purchase or scheduled trip.
4. Report suspicious activity immediately – If you feel uncomfortable with something that you see, tell someone who’s in charge. It’s better to report something that isn’t actually a security risk than to ignore something that is.
5. Be wary of who you ride with to and from the airport – Never get into an unmarked car. If you’re not sure how to get to your destination, visit the transportation services desk. They can help you rent a car, get a cab or get on the correct bus line.
It helps to know that most airports have high quality security systems in order to ensure that you stay safe while traveling. It’s also always good to take extra precautions in order to truly maximize your safety.