How Airport Security Works in Today’s World

Why do we need airport security? The answer is simply obvious. We need it to stop travelers from transporting and deploying dangerous weapons or explosive devices onboard of an airplane. Likewise, someone can back up a vehicle containing a bomb to an airport entrance and blow up the airport itself.

Cars were once able to park close to the terminal making it convenient to unload their luggage. Now, large concrete barriers surround the building prohibiting even large trucks to back up to a docking station within the airport. In fact, there is no traffic allowed within several feet of the building. Be sure to wear some good walking shoes on the day you book your flight.

Personal Identity Required

Of course, airport security requires proof of personal identification. When you check in at the airport you need your personal ID or passport if you reside outside the United States. Still, that is not enough. Now, a method of biometrics is used to further prove you really are who you say you are. Biometrics is a procedure which involves checking fingerprints, doing retinal and facial scans through the use of computers that are state-of-the-art quality. Biometrics mainly is used to identify past terrorists.

A new system, referred to as CAPPS II will soon become a part of airport security. CAPPS II is an acronym for Computer Assisted Passenger Processing System which requires additional information about travelers before they’re allowed to board their plane. This system will determine one’s risk level as follows: no risk, unknown risk, elevated risk, or high risk. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), this system will enable the innocent travelers to check in faster while requiring the high risk ones to undergo further screening.

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Tracking Your Luggage

Unsuspected terrorists have been known to discretely place explosives inside another person’s suitcase without their knowledge. Therefore, you may be asked the following odd questions: Have you been with your luggage at all times? Has anyone asked you to transport their luggage for them? Terrorists often conceal bombs in toys or stuffed animals and give them to children.

One month following the 9/11 attacks a new law was passed to raise the overall level of airport security. A new agency known as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created to prevent attacks on airports and airplanes, inhibit accidents or deaths caused by explosives, and to provide additional safety and security of airplane passengers. To beef up security, most large airports have their own police force. Background checks are required to all employed at the airport before being hired, regardless of their level of employment.

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Walking Through the Metal Detector

Next, comes the phase where you must enter the walk-through metal detector. It resembles a deep door frame that detects metals with electronic pulses. Before entering, you are required to take off your shoes, belts, and jackets and empty all contents of your pockets into a plastic bin. All these items go through an X-ray machine. You then walk through the metal detector to ensure that you have no metal objects on you. Once you pass through (gasp….) you then take a minute to put back on your shoes, belt, etc as stuff your pockets the way they were.

Now that you’re through security it is time to mind your manners. If there are unusual items in your carry-on bag that might be dangerous, as a smoke detector, you must inform the staff at the ticket counter before bringing them on. If discovered, any peculiar item in your bags can lead to arrest and/or a fine of up to $27,500. Finally, don’t be a comedian on the plane. Yelling out words like “fire”, “hijack”, “gun”, etc can lead to an arrest and removal from the plane. Even if you meant no harm whatsoever.


by Brandon Allred