One of the things I learned at Philly Phrolics
, from a flight attendant
. All tips are U.S.-centric, but pretty easily adaptable for citizens of any stable industrialized nation.
It has become fashionable in the media to refer to "hair emergencies", "entertainment emergencies", "snack emergencies", etc. This ain't that sort of node.
These tips are serious strategy, to maximize your chances of escaping a life-or-death
- When guerilla (counter)revolutionaries start taking over local transportation...
It may seem smart to try to contact the local U.S. embassy, and call the local branch of the airline to reserve a ticket out of this sudden hellhole... don't. Unless you're a U.S. official yourself, the embassy has bigger fish to fry right now. You don't rate, and the embassy itself is going to become a target anytime soon. Ditto for the local airline office; a U.S. office will have just as much info as the locals, and the sales agent on the other end won't be stressing impending civil disorder. In both cases, you'd be competing with every other traveler in the area, anyway. Call the airline's reservation number in the U.S. to rebook your flight, and get to the airport as quickly as possible.
- When dressing to flee the city...
Choose comfy casuals - you want to make a reasonably good impression on airport security, you don't want to be hindered by your outfit. Bring your valuables; no sense leaving them behind, and they may come in handy to bribe your way out.
- At the airport:
Spend as little time in the airport as possible. If guerillas are shutting down transportation, you can bet the airport is a target. Get as far through security as possible, bribing as necessary. Stay away from crowds; automatic weapons are popular with militant insurgents, you don't want to be caught in a stampede.
- On the plane:
You're not out of the woods yet; revolutionaries may hijack the plane. If possible, get a window seat, as hijackers tend to abuse aisle-seaters worst. Refrain from eye contact, don't slump down in your seat, talk to no one. Hold on to your passport, you will look very suspicious if you ditch it! (A statistic: Hijackers are most often criminals, then mentally ill, with terrorists running third.) If offered food, accept it; poisoning is not a concern in this situation. If the bad guys wanted to kill you they wouldn't be so subtle. Under standoff conditions, the good guys wouldn't compromise the safety of innocents by supplying poisoned food.
- If offered release...
...TAKE IT. There are people whose job it is to negotiate the release of hostages; I'm betting you're not one of them. It may seem noble or whatever to suggest women and children be released first, but you're just further complicating a complex situation. (We ejected nobility back in the bribery discussion, weren't you paying attention?)
- When S.W.A.T. arrives...
Expect tear gas. Breathe through cloth. Hit the deck and stay there, keep out of the aisles, and expect to be treated like a terrorist until your identity is established (another reason to hold onto that passport).