With the Belgian attacks, its time to review a few points for survival. I first posted this under the "Situation Awareness Thread" and I hope some points will at least make you more aware of your surroundings while traveling.
"I incorporate this topic in lots of my training and it is very difficult to get across, if the student has never faced armed combat or an actual physical assault. Reality is always the best teacher. Sento/Batman and others have covered the topic very well, just a couple of observations:
Having spent the last 9 years working, training, and living in various countries in the Middle East, you have to learn your environment... This applies to everywhere I have worked, including 9 countries in Europe. There are certain situations you need to try and avoid at all costs: large crowds on the streets, lines of people in the markets ,intelligence on whether the area is Shiite or Sunni, know your local hotspots for attacks, does the street have any children playing, if not, run like hell, try to avoid or exit a police/military checkpoint as fast as possible.
Always have secure and reliable communications (I prefer two cell phones with two different carriers) , transportation, backup team or direct communication with a QRT, a reliable and pre planned exit route, and, if legal....weapons.
This is where everyone is the most vulnerable. Know the airport lay out the best you can,(maps on walls) arrive 3 hours early , get through customs and then walk the terminal marking the exits, bathrooms, and checkpoints....does it have multiple levels? if so, spend time in the upper levels watching the crowds entering, because, if an attack is going to occur, if will be on the ground level (high percentage). Locate security...is it the army or local police? do they have roving patrols or fixed stations? if they are killed outright, can you operate their weapons for your own survival? visualize an attack and then decide what you are going to do...what cover do you have? where are the exits? have a plan, no matter how simple.
stay away from the "food courts" at all times.....if a mass of people a sleeping along the walls ( Kuwait International) never linger...walk on by. watch everyone carefully, especially if they are carrying large amounts of luggage in cardboard or other types of carriers..... try to arrive early enough to avoid waiting several hours checking in....This has happened to me several times after late flights and , believe me, waiting with several hundred people on the GROUND FLOOR of a terminal with massive amounts of luggage is not a good situation. Most security entering the ground floor is shit. (recent LA airport shooting). Watch the entrance as much as possible, have a plan. example:( There is nothing wrong with jumping past the ticket agent and crawling through the luggage conveyor belt if someone opens up with an AK-behind you).
The most stupid thing I see every time I travel: USE OF ELECTRONICS.
for God's sake, get those buds out of your ears, how can you hear gunshots, people yelling, rockets or mortars whistling in with music blasting ?
How the hell, do you watch your area, if you have your face stuck in an I-Phone playing the latest version of whatever....save that crap when you on the plane or in your hotel room.
I brought this subject back up because next month I have to go to Amsterdam to follow up on a assignment. Now, I have always enjoyed working with the Dutch, but, like every European country I ever worked , the thought of me carrying weapons sends them into a pantie twisting frenzy. So,comes down to critical thinking, situational awareness, and luck. The same you will have as a civilian traveling.
I know when orders are orders, so, I will list the most dangerous airports I have been through(IMO), in case business takes you that way.
Kabul International: Enough said.
Baghdad International: Enough said.
Aden Adde: Never, ever, go there.
Arrive 4 to 6 hours early for an International flight, security sucks, and the crowds are unbelievable. The amount of death would be catastrophe, if someone detonated, either out from or in the waiting area. One of the most chaotic places I have ever been.
This is a major hub for the Middle East, with flights world wide, especially to SE and SW Asia. The front entrance and passenger drop off point is huge and I never been there at anytime where huge crowds were not everywhere. Worse, if you are not flying out of Terminal 1, you have to take a fucking bus to Terminal 2 and they are packed with luggage and people, security is non-existent and since Dubai imports all its labor, the chances of a terrorists getting through is great.
***Doha U.A.E**Same as above^^^^^^^
Queen Alia Airport:
They had opened up a new airport terminal the last time I was through there, but, it is a Middle East country and chaos rules the day, same as Dubai and Doha. Security is UNARMED inside, (unless its changed) and I noticed a lot plain clothes security walking around.
Huge, huge, crowds out front in the passenger drop of area, one of the most dangerous areas, since they allow vehicles to pull up within 3 feet of the terminal entrance, traffic is always at a stand still and if you have to fly through that death trap of an airport, have the taxi drop you off at the top curve of the road and walk in, he will know what I am talking about. Inside will be total chaos since the airport will be packed with their imported slave labor. Fucking hate Kuwait, legalized slavery for those pampered pussies.
Overall, I have found security to be good, especially, Schiphol. I got off a flight from Kuwait and was walking to the museum to take a quick look, when, I was stopped by three police with SMG's, who politely asked me to walk to a side room. Seems, someone on monitor duty did not like the way I was walking and told them I might be carrying a gun. For some reason it make them nervous I was carrying credentials, like I was going to go postal or something. I was escorted to the waiting area under guard and one stayed with me until I got on a flight to the states. I had to smile because it was a KLM flight and I asked the guy if he was going to escort me to the states. did not answer or crack a smile, no humor the Dutch.
Even though I have been through LHR, CDG ,LIS and Fumicino with no problems, I try to avoid them since they are prime targets. If you have to travel, try to avoid stop overs as much as possible, every airport you go through is just another potential target.
Be careful, be aware.