Since September 11, air travel security has increased throughout the US and all over the world. In efforts to prevent another attack on any country, policies are stricter and limits on what travelers can bring onto planes are constantly updated and increased. As technology improves, air travel security must improve as well, staying one step ahead of potential threats.
Years ago, travelers were asked if they packed their own bags and whether a stranger had asked them to carry something onboard. Bags and carry-ons were rarely x-rayed or searched before boarding the plane. Believe it or not, there was a time that travelers could take a pocketknife onboard a plane – but not anymore. Today, air travel security updates include more x-rays, powering on electronics as well as secondary checkpoints after an initial security search.
After presenting your boarding pass and identification to a security agent, every bag that’s being carried onto a plane goes through an x-ray machine. Another security agent views each bag, and an automatic alarm will ring if the system detects anything that could be a potential threat. While the alarm goes off for obvious things like weapons, it also catches containers of liquid and anything that is sharp or pointed.
Also at security, agents can ask passengers to turn on any electronic device in their carry-on bag. Any electronic device must be able to be powered on, with or without a power cord. Computers, tablets and smartphones are denied access to the plane if they can’t be turned on and searched. This is one of the newest security measured implemented in airports.
Another new element in larger airports like London’s Heathrow is a secondary security checkpoint at specific gates. Even after being cleared by airport security, travelers must once again open bags, turn on electronic and submit to a metal detector before they can board their plane. This initiative is in place to make sure that nothing gets past security or slips through the cracks.
It’s with these new efforts that airports worldwide hope to deter and prevent any type of danger to flyers. Along the way they are also averting drug trafficking and illegal smuggling. Yes, these security additions take more time, and often can be frustrating but without them, airports, airplanes and passengers remain vulnerable to potentially dangerous situations.