We got you through the airport in my last column; now, we need to talk a bit about a few more important things to consider. Namely, the aircraft, taxis and hotels.
It is common for people to advise travelers to sit in the rear of the aircraft for safety’s sake. That’s fine, unless the tail hits the ground first! Sit as near to an exit as possible, within five rows if you can. Statistically, the majority of passengers involved in a crash situation succumb to smoke inhalation caused by a resultant fire on board, not from the crash itself. If the cabin is smoke-filled follow the footpath lights until you reach a red light…that is an exit row. Leave your belongings in the overhead compartment. You don’t have time to gather them up.
At your destination you will usually be met by a fleet of taxis. Make sure your taxi is, indeed, a reputable taxi! Look for a picture license of the driver and door handles on the inside of doors in the rear seats. No door handles, beware! Never hire a helpful individual who has an unmarked vehicle and will “save you money” getting you to your hotel. In that case, especially in foreign lands, you may be charged hundreds of dollars for your 10-minute trip or worse yet abducted. Ladies, always beware! Carry your tac-pen in case you need to break out a window to escape.
Upon reaching your hotel, don’t be surprised if you are asked to relinquish your passport so they can log you in. If you are a business traveler it will frequently be copied and the copy given to a foreign intelligence service. They may want to know who to steal business information from. When you reach your room, check your luggage to see if it has been gone through by hotel staff. Never leave valuables in the useless little wall safe in your room, here or abroad. Hotel staff members can usually easily open these safes using a universal access code. Make sure all door locks work properly. Leaving the “do not disturb” sign on the door and the TV on while you are at dinner does not work well. Remember, there is no place in your room to hide things that thieves do not know about. And, beware who you chat with in hotel bars!
Preparedness, not paranoia!
K.H. Kraft has over 40 years of affiliations with intelligence and police organizations. Sources for these articles are decades of personal experience and numerous official manuals.
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