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DoDEA OSS: Safety and Security Tips: When Flying

When Flying
  • Try to book non-stop, direct flights to destinations. The fewer the stops and plane changes, the better.
  • Exchange a small amount of money before you leave for tips, snacks, taxis, etc.
  • Use military flights, MAC charters, or US Flag carriers whenever possible.
  • Hijackers usually direct their activities towards the aisle seats, especially the front and rear aisle area. Avoid sitting in these seats if possible.
  • Travel in conservative civilian clothing that does not make you stand out as a U.S. citizen.
  • Pack your own luggage. Never let it out of your sight until it has been checked through. Do not accept any packages or items for packing with your luggage or hand carried items.
  • Use civilian addresses for tickets, luggage tags, reservations and other travel documents.
  • Place your name and address inside each piece of luggage.
  • Don't loiter around the ticket counter, baggage check-in, or security screening area. Go through security as quickly as possible and to the boarding area. If you want to use shops, restaurants and lounges, do so in the security area, not the main terminal.
  • Beware of unattended baggage; report it immediately.
  • Use a tourist passport, with a plain cover, whenever possible.
  • If a hijacking or similar incident occurs:
    • Discreetly discard DoD identification. Do not volunteer your DoD affiliation; but if questioned, do not deny it. Simply state that traveling on a blue passport is routine.
    • Avoid doing anything that will draw attention to you.
    • Discreetly observe captors and get a physical description.
    • If a rescue attempt is made, get down and stay still until the situation is completely resolved and you are told to get up. Security forces will generally target anyone that is moving.

Sources for Additional Information

The U.S. Department of State operates a 24 hour per day information center. Travel advisories for countries and areas can be obtained from the center, and travelers can report emergencies involving U.S. citizens. Information concerning marriages overseas, citizenship questions, and judicial services can also be obtained. The telephone number is (202) 647-5225.

Most U.S. military transportation offices maintain travel advisories issued by the U.S. Department of State through Department of Defense channels.

Pamphlets and publications can provide valuable information concerning general security issues and crime prevention tips; but they should not be used as a sole source of such information. The most current and specific information can and should be obtained from Law Enforcement Officials, Security Officers, and/or U.S. Embassy Regional Security Officers in the area in which you live or are planning to travel.

Be Smart | Be Alert | Be Aware