DALLAS (CBS11) – With recent terrorist attacks in Brussels and Istanbul targeting airports, it’s easy to understand why many air travelers are a little anxious these days.
Statistically, becoming a victim of a terrorist attack at an airport is extremely low, but security experts says it’s always smart to be prepared.
Here’s our top five ways to stay safe at the airport.
1. Avoid lines
One common characteristic in nearly every recent terrorist attack is those targeted were in confined and crowded spaces. Security experts say to stay safe, try and avoid as many long lines as you can.
You can do this at the ticket counter by using carry-on baggage and printing your boarding pass ahead of time
2. Fly at off hours
After an internal 2015 investigation revealed major airport security weaknesses, the TSA increased security which has in part led to longer lines at security check-points.
Experts say longer wait times in line increases the risk of becoming a victim of a terrorist attack.
One of best ways to keep your wait at the security check-point short is to fly at off hours. That would be early in the morning, late at night, or on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday.
3. Use your phone
Security experts say sitting idle in crowded pick-up areas at an airport puts you at greater risk. Avoid this area until you get a call from passenger you’re picking up to limit your time in the area. Using an app, like Waze, can help you avoid any vehicle congestion in and around an airport.
4. Know where the exits are
Especially if it’s a new airport for you, check out a map ahead of time and locate the exits.
That way if you start seeing something that just doesn’t seem right, you can quickly get your family out the airport.
“Perhaps the most important thing people can factor is situational awareness.” said Alex del Carmen, Ph.D., Executive Director of the School of Criminology at Tarleton State University. “Be aware of where the exits are and know how long it is going to take to leave. Families, when they travel together, seldom talk about having an action plan.”
5. Sign up for the Smart Traveler Program
If you are traveling overseas, first sign up for the Smart Traveler Program. This free program from the State Department will provide you information from the local embassy about safety conditions
It also helps the embassy contact you in case of emergency.
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