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Layover Safety and the Importance of Situational Awareness

Date: December 13, 2019


MEC Safety, Health & Security Committee

Last Friday’s Layover Safety article focused on important safety tips as it pertains to actions we should take when checking into our layover hotels. Equally as important are the actions we should take to keep ourselves safe when we are out and about in our various layover cities.

Recent geopolitical events have several of the cities to which we travel around the world experiencing differing levels of political demonstrations, equal rights marches, protests, etc.  At any time, public demonstrations have the potential to become violent.   It is for this reason that we generally recommend that Flight Attendants avoid the areas where these protests are occurring.  Even when doing so, events can occur when not anticipated.  For this reason, the importance of remaining vigilant and situationally aware cannot be overstated.

The following are a number of reminders 

  • Always comply with local customs and laws. 
  • When leaving the hotel for food, exercise, shopping or entertainment, try to avoid traveling alone. Use the buddy system when traveling, walking or jogging, particularly in unfamiliar areas and at night.
  • Tell someone where you are going and what time you plan to return. 
  • When that is not possible, leave the information on a notepad in your hotel room and carry identification in your pocket or purse. [An example might be: I am a United Flight Attendant on a layover. My name and file number are John Doe, #0123456. Please contact United Airlines if I am injured and cannot do this for myself. Call toll free: 1-800-FLTLINE then 0. Thank You.] 
  • Place the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door and turn on the TV or radio to a minimal volume that can be heard from outside your door when not in the room. 
  • Take your mobile phone with you.
  • Ask the hotel staff for areas that are safe to visit and ones to avoid. 
  • Stick to well-lit, well-traveled streets. Avoid shortcuts through wooded areas, parking lots and alleys.
  • Never draw attention to yourself by displaying large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry.
  • Another good practice is to check the country’s travel.state.gov website for information about your destination and any particular warnings (demonstrations, ATM thefts, etc.).

Enjoy your layover, but always stay alert and tuned into your surroundings

The following are examples of recent travel advisories in Hong Kong & France:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/France.html

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/hong-kong-travel-advisory.html

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