Top Ten Tips for High Threat Travel

In the wake of September 11, and the very real threat of military actions directed at the air transportation system, all air travelers should be prepared to take reasonable actions to ensure their safety. offers the following pieces of advice for air travelers.

  1. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
    The next time you are in an airport or on an aircraft, take notice of your surroundings, especially of activities or situations that do not appear to be normal.
  2. Report Unusual Activity
    If you see anything in the airport or on an aircraft that looks out of place or otherwise inappropriate such as unusual behavior or potential security violations, inform either a law enforcement representative or someone in authority.
  3. Make No Assumptions About the Who May Pose a Threat
    If someone is intent on perpetrating violent acts against the air transport system, that person can be of any age, gender, or nationality. You should not assume that any particular type of person is likely to do harm simply because of outward appearances.
  4. Stay Away from Suspicious Circumstances
    If you encounter a potential hazard in the airport, move away from the situation before contacting someone in authority. If necessary, warn others in the vicinity. Examples of potential hazards include unaccompanied packages, suspicious behavior, or an unusual commotion.
  5. Keep Your Seat Belt Fastened While You are Seated
    Keeping the belt on when you are seated provides that extra protection you might need if the plane hits unexpected turbulence of if the aircraft is put through unusual maneuvers.
  6. Listen to the Flight Attendants
    The primary reason flight attendants are on an aircraft is for safety, so if there is any kind of emergency or potential emergency situation, look to the flight attendants for guidance.
  7. Become Familiar with Your Aircraft
    When you are first seated, review the written safety instructions, count the number of rows to the nearest exits (toward the front or the back of the plane), and check to see if there are seatback telephones available.
  8. Remember the Basic Rules for Wireless Devices
    In the U.S., cell phones, pagers, and other wireless communications devices may be used until the passenger entry doors are closed prior to takeoff. Do not use these devices for routine communications until the passenger doors are opened at the end of the flight. Rules vary around the world, so check with your airline if you are not sure.
  9. Have a Plan for the Emergency Use of a Wireless Device
    In the event of an in-flight emergency, you should take stock of the situation before using any communications device, including the aircraft's seatback telephones. If the situation calls for it, use your cell phone or other personal wireless device to contact someone who can help. In the U.S., this includes the FBI at 1-866-483-5137. If you are a flight attendant or other airline employee, contact an appropriate office or department at the airline.
  10. Work As A Team
    If the situation on the aircraft has the potential for danger, it is usually better to share information with crew members and the other passengers and to work together. Individual action, either during a normal emergency or during a hijack or other deliberate threat to the aircraft, is usually much less effective than a coordinated group action.

Related Information
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Top Ten Tips for High Threat Travel -- Revised: 8 September 2007