This article was originally developed on behalf of Air Security International as a paper for the Air Routing International newsletter - Airmail.

The author - Robert Seaman is the President of AvAd Inc. and past Chapter Chair for the CBAA. His expertise in this area is based upon involvement in the specialized marketing and communications service that have been developed over a 15 year period exclusively for the business aviation community.

Air Travel Security and Awareness Preparation . . .

Business aviation travel is a breeze compared to commercial carriers. It has been developed and designed with comfort, convenience and time factors as the major considerations. Even though traveling through corporate aviation is a much more relaxed and purpose driven, you should still exercise some basic personal and corporate security awareness measures at all times.

When planning a trip, your focus is usually on the weather, your luggage, the drive to the airport, finding a parking place, getting to the aircraft and of course, flight preparations and aircraft issues.

During the flight, you tend to be preoccupied with cockpit issues, passenger needs and just simply getting to your destination. Once your aircraft has landed, you will start thinking about the FBO, ramp ground service preparation and getting off the plane as fast as you can. You thoughts naturally wander to going through customs, getting your passengers taken care of and off to their meetings, their luggage and yours, getting the aircraft squared for the layover and getting to your hotel. IS THIS YOU?

Before you left home, did you do any of the following to insure that your trip will be safe and secure?

Prior to Departure

  1. Ensure your home is protected while you are away - set the alarm, notify neighbours or the police of your absence and remember to make arrangements for mail and newspaper delivery if your property is to be left unattended.
  2. Research and understand the local laws - ignorance is not an excuse in many foreign nations.
  3. Protect your itinerary and hotel information, but ensure your family or a trusted colleague at work has it.
  4. Rent a GSM cellular phone for the trip. They will allow access into the local cellular system plus give you a standard number for others to reach you.
  5. Carry small bills in the local currency for tipping.
  6. Take a small flashlight with fresh batteries

General Travel Tips

  1. Arrive at the airport early to avoid being rushed. In most European airports, you will still be required to proceed through a security scan and check. Do so quickly and move along to the gate area as they are the safest part of the airport
  2. Stay with your luggage. Even if you've been through the FBO a dozen times, do not leave your bags unattended or on top of a luggage cart. Thieves know that the most valuable bag is on top and bags left alone are an invitation to such minded people. Just because you are in and FBO, does not mean that those with less than honourable intentions are not present.
  3. Do not openly display your name on luggage, and do not put your address on luggage tags, only your office phone number.
  4. Do not display company logos on your luggage or briefcase.
  5. If traveling in high threat areas, be cautions of sharing information regarding your employment in open conversation.
  6. Familiarize yourself with emergency exit locations at the hotels, at the airport - as you would if you were traveling on commercial aircarrier.
  7. While away from home, only drink alcohol in moderation (if at all) - it can significantly increase "jet lag" and dull your overall safety awareness.
  8. Keep business confidential/proprietary documents out of view.
  9. Wear loose fitting and natural fiber clothes in case of fire.

Ground Transportation

  1. Always try to use pre-arranged transportation. Your hotel can often arrange it for you. Only choose marked transportation - never use gypsy cabs.
  2. Know if public transportation (including taxis) are safe to use.
  3. Lock doors and keep windows rolled up.

On the Ground

  1. Know your surroundings at all times - if does not look familiar or relate to a map, turn around and go back. Avoid alleys and unlit areas
  2. Set your watch to the local time and do not allow your patterns to be predictable.
  3. Divide your money among several pockets. Carry your purse close to the body. Never set your purse down - unless you attach it to your person. Men should carry their wallets in their front pockets.
  4. Do not be flashy with jewelry, cameras, and clothing.
  5. In some countries, you can't photograph police facilities, government buildings, and transportation facilities - so ask first.
  6. While shopping do not carry a large number of packages, and do not purchase "black market" goods. Always secure your packages.

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