Crewmembers Guide to Safe Layovers

In light of recent events in Egypt and other countries, Jeff Beck has contributed the following guide to crew members. Download Here Crewmembers Guide to Safe Layovers by Jeff Beck Airport Arrival transportation:

  • Take only airport approved taxi's. Verify anybody who meets you .
  • Keep Alert !!!!

Hotel and Layover Security

  • At check in, get two business cards or matchbooks with the hotel name and address on them. Place one by the phone in the room so you know where you are and keep the other on your person when you leave so you know where to come back to. Or if you are in a country where you don't speak the language, you can simply show a taxi driver the matchbook, and you're on your way back to the hotel.
  • Keep your Passport with you at all times, and keep extra color, scanned copies of the face page and any Visa pages. The only time that you should relinquish it is in some countries that require, by law, you to leave your Passport at the desk when registering. But don't transfer control if you can avoid it. Frequently the color copies will suffice. If you need to leave the Passport, then get it back as soon as you can.
  • Note where the nearest fire stairwells are located. Make a mental note which direction you must turn and approximately how many steps there are to the closest fire stairwell. In the event of a fire, there is frequently dense smoke and no lighting (similar to the environment we experience during aircraft evac training)
  • At night, make sure to lay out your clothes, jacket, and have your Passport and wallet in or near your shoes, so in the event of an emergency evacuation, you can be up, dressed, have your valuables, and on the way out in just a few moments.
  • Keep Alert !!!!
  • Put the Do-Not-Disturb sign on the doorknob at all times, this deters room burglars (it may affect housekeeping service, however). Turn on the TV or radio just loud enough to hear through the door to give the appearance that the room is occupied. In a foreign country, you may consider tuning TV or radio to an indigenous station, so as not to identify yourself as a westerner.
  • Leave one light on inside the room if you will return after dark. This helps you see upon re-entry and gives the room the appearance of occupancy from the outside. Always go through the same room inspection routine every time you re-enter. Use caution when using the breakfast order doorknob hanger card. This card lists your name and number of persons in the room. A smart crook can knock on the door posing as room service and use your name as a ruse to gain entry.

Other Considerations

  • Don't drop your guard or assume that a hotel is going to provide the level of security you think it should. Be responsible for yourself and your crew mates.
  • Stay alert and aware of your surroundings; keep an eye on belongings and your hand on your valuables.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • Learn at least a few phrases in the local language, such as “Please” & “Thank You”
  • Dress to blend in with the foreign environment – don't wear logo clothing identifying you as a westerner. And for goodness sake, don't have American flags pasted on your luggage or flight bags
  • Leave behind expensive jewelry, watches, and clothes that mark you as a wealthy foreigner. Not only does this mark you, it makes it harder to get good deals when shopping.
  • Keep Alert !!!!
  • Do not pay with large bills or count currency in public
  • Stay away from crowds and don't investigate a disturbance; just leave. Even peaceful gatherings can turn ugly
  • Carry the phone numbers of emergency contacts - e.g. your handler, the hotel, and diplomatic representation in that city/country.
  • Keep Alert !!!!
  • Always carry an ID card, Passport, or a copy of it - a legal requirement in many countries. Remember, your Passport is your most valuable possession when out on the road.
  • Guard against pickpockets
  • Keep your distance from the curb (also keep reminding yourself which side traffic drives)
  • If you are followed, change direction and enter a well-lighted business establishment
  • If a car follows you, turn and walk the opposite way
  • Go through your luggage to remove items not needed or which pose a security risk, such as:
    • o Excess credit cards, Membership- or ID- cards for any group that may be targeted, Business cards revealing national, ethnic or religious affiliation
    • o Political, religious or sexually explicit literature
    • o Expensive or religious jewelry

Leaving your hotel room

  • Use taxi service arranged by hotel, handler, or restaurant, avoid flagging one off the street. Speak with the bellman, concierge and front desk regarding safe areas around the city in which to jog, dine or sight-see. Ask about local customs and which taxi companies to use or avoid.
  • Take a minimum of cash, enough for that outing. Keep credit cards and money in different pockets. (NOTE – If you use your front pockets, it is harder for pickpockets to hit you, as opposed to your back pockets)
  • Carry "bait money" for potential thieves. Put this in another pocket.
  • Keep Alert !!!!
  • Wear minimum jewelry, especially women. Women, wear only a simple wedding band in lieu of a diamond ring. Remember in some foreign cities and even some area within the United States, a diamond ring might be worth what a criminal might earn in a year. Remove the temptation!
  • In restaurants and pubs try not to sit real close to the entry, and if possible face the entry when seated.

Crime In a criminal attack, give up your belongings willingly, without argument

  • Report the crime immediately to local police authorities. In certain countries check your embassy before contacting the police
  • If someone with a weapon approaches and corners you, remember your life is at stake and one wrong move could be your last. Plan ahead how you will react and remember to think rationally
  • Report passport theft to your embassy immediately, and initiate the procedure to obtain a new passport

Kidnap / Hostage Situations

  • Do not behave in any way to make yourself stand out; avoid threatening movements and do not stare
  • Do exactly as you are told, and do nothing without asking permission first
  • Remain alert and prepared in the event of rescue attempt or escalation of violence
  • If you are singled out for questioning, your answers must be consistent with documentation you are carrying. Volunteer no additional information
  • Remain courteous, but dignified
  • If there is a rescue attempt, stay as close to the ground as possible
  • Do not try to be a hero

State Emergency (coup d'état, revolution, social unrest, etc.)

  • If trouble starts, contact your local embassy
  • Call or have someone contact the embassy with your location to facilitate your evacuation if needed
  • Stay off the streets, remain in your hotel, and if necessary move only in daylight in groups
  • Avoid main squares and boulevards, government buildings, radio/TV stations, military installations, the airport, harbors, banks and shopping centers. All are key targets during take-overs or coups
  • Do not discuss opinions about the political situation
  • Have the hotel management or embassy update you on any developments

Natural Disaster

  • Have a pre-established plan with your colleagues and passengers for where to go in the event of a disaster; that plan should include going immediately to your local diplomatic representation or the Red Cross to report yourself alive. (Note: the symbol for the Red Cross in some Islamic countries is a red crescent in place of the Red Cross.)
  • Contact your home to save your family worry. Also stay in touch with your handler for information on current events. Make sure your handler knows which hotels the passengers are staying.

Jeff Beck is a retired career independent contract pilot. Jeff is rated in Gulfstream G1159 / G1159A / G1159B / G1159C / G1159D aircraft with over 22,000 hours of extensive International and Domestic flying.