Risk of crime at and off airports
Disregard for the law has become commonplace. Security considerations are essential everywhere.
"Some hotels, and hotel staff, are not reliable in terms of security so don't just stay in any hotel when overseas.
A comprehensive, tailored, security brief should cover hotel security specifics as well as airport details—fencing, cameras, patrols, lighting, location of parking areas, access controls and the ability to have a security guard on your aircraft. A good brief should also include contact details for local hospitals as well as risk areas to avoid in-town."
Even airports with proper perimeter fencing and security can be risky points out Brian Leek. "We've had pilots report attempts at opening of aircraft doors in Mexico and DXB (Dubai, UAE). Overflow parking at DXB can be in very remote areas and there's been so much construction going on that it's been difficult to effectively patrol some areas of the airfield.
While airport and perimeter fencing are generally secure In India people live within the airport fencing and tend to look for food and shelter. We've had pilots go back to their aircraft at DEL (Delhi, India) to find families camping under the aircraft."
LeBlanc illustrates the value of a destination security brief with the example of a recent hotel theft in Rio de Janeiro. "The crew checked into a hotel, went out and had everything stolen other than the clothes on their back and their passports which, fortunately, they had with them.
This particular hotel had a history of hotel room thefts—documented in local newspapers—and this sort of security risk would have been known with a proper pre-trip security brief."
Tracie Jones reminds operators of the importance of cyber security in today's world. "With so much proprietary company information, flight schedules and sensitive material on laptops, iPads and smartphones these days there are additional security risks to consider.
Before traveling overseas sit down with your IT team to review password protection and overall security of your electronic documents. Don't bring more computers and electronic devices than you need and consider leaving some of these items locked onboard your aircraft."
Common sense considerations
While traveling in public taxis between the airport and your hotel don't use a credit card and avoid small talk with the driver. "Otherwise, the driver will know your name, hotel and more information than he/she needs to know about you," says Jones.
Saner suggests that crews maintain as low a profile as possible off airport. "Don't wear your flight crew uniform into town and avoid walking around with expensive jewelry, sunglasses and smartphones," he says. "Stay in, or close to, your hotel when you're in higher risk areas and dress simply, like a tourist, when you go out."
Understand security specifics—both strengths and limitations—of your chosen hotels. "It's important to consider access control—for both public areas and upper floors— safety of doors, security and fire alarm systems and the presence of guards and barriers at the entrances," says Leek. "It's often best to stay between the 3rd and 6th floors – as it's harder for someone to climb up to your balcony but you're still low enough for effective fire rescue.