In light of the recent tragedy at the Brussels International Airport and the tragic incident regarding EgyptAir Flight 804, more and more corporations and business travelers are realizing that travel security is not something just for the streets and subways of Europe, but a frame of mind that must be active from the moment that one leaves one’s doorstep in the United States until the moment that one returns. Among the areas where one can take security for granted is, of course, the airport. As various terrorist attacks have indicated, airports are not completely secure, especially in those areas that exist before one goes through the security checkpoints.
Here are some thoughts about how to think about airport travel security for business travelers. Of course the readers of this blog are largely corporate travel security experts, but if you are a business traveler, you should also be able to find some useful information and food for thought.
Tips on International Travel Security at Airports
First, educate your employees about international employee travel security and about the fact that it is a frame of mind that should begin before, during, and after the travel. For example, even airports in the United States, and even minor airports as we learned during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, can be utilized as targets. Educate your employees, therefore, to always be vigilant when traveling. Educate them to look around at their surroundings and pay attention to any suspicious people or packages. Obviously, if something is truly suspicious they are advised to alert the various police or security officers.
Second, educate your employees to think broadly about travel security. For example, although terrorist attacks gather all of the headlines, the reality is that many, many more business travelers are subject to petty crimes when traveling abroad. It may not make headlines when a person is mugged in London, but if it is your employee who is mugged, that in a sense is a travel security problem. Similarly, while diseases such as the Z cut virus garner the headlines, the reality is that influenza kills many, many more people across the world than these high profile viruses such as Z cut or Ebola. Educate your employees to be aware of sick people around them in the crowded environment of an airport, and to move politely away.
Third, while on board an airplane, advise your employees to not let their guard down. Pay attention to the other travelers, and pay attention to the flight attendants and crew in terms of their instructions. With recent unfortunate events in terms of people who have been speaking Arabic on planes, also advise your employees and executives to be culturally sensitive and to not go overboard. Not everyone who is different is a security threat!
In sum, travel security for business travelers (both executive travel security and junior employee travel security) begins in their mind. Make the correct frame of mind a priority, and educate your employees that airport travel security is the first part of general international security.