Who Are You?
The first line of security at an airport is confirming your identity. This is done by checking a photo ID, such as your driver's license. If you are traveling internationally, you need to present your passport.
The photo-identification page of a U.S. passport
During the check-in process, the attendant asks you a couple of security questions:
- Has your luggage been in your possession at all times?
- Has anyone given you anything or asked you to carry on or check any items for them?
These are very important questions. A tactic used on occasion by terrorists is to hide a bomb inside an unsuspecting person's luggage. Another tactic is to give something, maybe a toy or stuffed animal, to someone who is about to board a plane. That innocent-seeming object may actually be a bomb or other harmful device.
The guidelines and requirements for airport security are established by Civil Aviation Security (CAS), a division of the Federal Aviation Administration. CAS has three main objectives for airport security:
- Prevent attacks on airports or aircraft
- Prevent accidents and fatalities due to transport of hazardous materials
- Ensure safety and security of passengers
FAA agents working under CAS are located at every major airport for immediate response to possible threats. Most major airports also have an entire police force, just like a small town, monitoring all facets of the facility, and require background checks on all airport personnel, from baggage handlers to security-team members, before they can be employed. All airport personnel have photo-ID cards with their name, position and access privileges clearly labeled.