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Revealed: Secret Tips For Surviving A Skyjacking

Sep 16, 2008
Hijackings of aircraft are usually followed a pattern of negotiations between the hijackers and the authorities, followed by some form of settlement (not always the meeting of the hijackers' original demands) or the storming of the aircraft to rescue the hostages.

Since the nineteen eighties, there has been an average of 25 skyjackings a year (very roughly). Source: Criminal Acts Against Civil Aviation 1988 and 1989, and other data.

Before 9/11, most airlines had a policy requiring the pilot to comply with hijackers' demands in the hope of a peaceful resolution. Since then, policies have changed in favor of arming and strengthening the cockpit.

Measures for preventing skyjacking include putting air marshalls on planes, screening all luggage and passengers for weapons, and greately fortifying the cockpit to keep hijackers out.

Most skyjackings are not caused by political terrorists. Skyjackings are mostly caused by people out of personal, criminal or boscure motives. Some skyjackings arise from air rage incidents that in the heat of the moment spiral out of control.

Whatever the reason and motivation of the skyjackers, the aircraft and passengers are nevertheless put at risk. This is so even if the cockpit is not overtaken. Furthermore, whether or not the skyjackers suceed in achieving their aims, the safety of passengers is put at severe risk for the duration of the skyjacking.

Fortunately, there are some simple things that you can do should you are ever get caught up in a skyjacking. Here are the best ten tips to help you survive a skyjacking:

1. Always be aware of your surroundings. Whenever you are in an airport or on an aircraft, take notice of your surroundings. Pay particular attention to activities or situations that do not appear to be normal.

2. Report unusual activity to the authorities. Should you see anything in the airport or on an aircraft that looks out of place or otherwise inappropriate such as unusual behavior or potential security violations, inform someone in authority.

3. Make no assumptions about who may pose a threat. If someone is intent on violence or skyjacking, realize that person can be of any age, gender, or nationality. Do not assume that any particular type of person is likely to do harm simply because of outward appearances.

4. Become as low profile as possible. As soon as it is clear that a skyjacking is in progress, do nothing to draw attention to yourself. Stay quiet and be as invisible as possible. But remain observant in case there is an opportunity for escape, and work as a team with others if the need arises.

5. Keep your seat belt fastened at all times while seated. This provides extra protection in case the plane hits unexpected turbulence of if the aircraft is forced through unusual maneuvers. Seat belt warnings may not be operating.

6. Listen to the flight attendants and watch them. The primary reason flight attendants are on an aircraft is for safety. If there is some kind of emergency or potential emergency situation, look to the flight attendants for guidance and help.

7. Everytime you travel become familiar with your aircraft. As soon as you are seated review the emergency safety instructions. Then count and memorize the number of rows to the nearest exits (toward the front or the back of the plane). Also make sure you understand how to use the seatback telephone service if such telephones are available.

8. Make a telephone call if safe to do so. In an emergency, such as a skyjacking, use your mobile or the seatback telephone to alert the emergency services on the ground (they will relay the emergency to the relevant authorities). However, only do this if you can make the call without being noticed by the skyjackers. In the European Union the emergency telephone number is 112. In the USA it is 911.

9. Make use of a camouflage passport. If your nationality is 'western', if your religion, culture or country (or even the sound of your name) could be associated with some kind of war or conflict, then you need to consider having a camouflage passport. You would only use the camouflage passport in the event of a skyjacking, and of course you would destroy or hide your real passport. You also need to remember to get rid of other items that may reveal your real identity.

Skyjackers are likely to collect all passports. Possession of a camouflage passport is perfectly legal since it is not a false passport and has not been used to commit any crime. To get a camouflage passport do a search on internet.

10. Work as a team. If the situation on the aircraft has the potential for danger, it is usually better to share information with crew members and the other passengers and to work together. Individual action, either during a normal emergency or during a hijack or other deliberate threat to the aircraft, is usually much less effective than a coordinated group action.
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