Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Sun February 07 2016

Why an Aircraft Bombing is Unlikely in the US

Features & Advice | Paul Thompson | February 07, 2016

Why an Aircraft Bombing is Unlikely in the US

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

An act of terrorism is among travelers’ biggest fears when flying, and it’s even scarier to think that someone on the inside at a airline might be plotting to bring down a plane. This is what authorities are now suspecting as the cause of Metrojet KGL9268’s crash on Halloween last year.

A bombing has been suspected all along, and led several airlines to suspend flights from Sharm-el-Sheikh, where this flight originated. Reuters reported this week that arrests have been made — including a mechanic with EgyptAir, whose cousin reportedly has ties to ISIS. The Reuters source said, “After learning that one of its members had a relative that worked at the airport, Islamic State delivered a bomb in a handbag to that person.” Another scary aspect of this story is that Egyptian officials have remained adamant that terrorism was not involved, and are also denying an arrest has been made.

READ MORE: REPORT: EgyptAir Mechanic Suspected in 2015 MetroJet Crash

I have over two years working for a major airline at one of America’s largest airports, and I’m here to tell you that the bombing of a flight originating in America is so unlikely, that you shouldn’t worry yourself with it. There are many layers of security around aircraft and the people who work with them.

First, people who apply for jobs with airlines must undergo extensive background checks.

Second, once you are hired and receive your airline ID, you have to get a second ID to work within the airport. Airports have several levels of clearance, and these badges clearly tell others whether you’re supposed to be working around planes, in a restaurant or in the ATC tower.

Third, when you get to work, you don’t just go inside and straight to your job. Accessing certain areas requires you to scan your badge and either (a) scan your fingerprint, or (b) enter a pin number.

Finally, if you carry anything with you to work, such as a backpack or even a purse, you’re subject to being searched at any time while going through a security checkpoint.

READ MORE: Egypt Hires Experts to Audit Airport Security 

All of this is to say it would be a huge risk for someone to try and plant a device on a plane, after you’ve already gone through all of the steps to get clearance behind the scenes. It’s not completely foolproof, of course, but as someone who travels tens of thousands of miles by air each year, it does make me feel safer.

Flying will probably never be completely risk-free, but if you think about the extremely low likelihood of anything happening on your flight, your biggest concern should be arriving on time and forking over that extra cash for your bag fees. 


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