Last week I asked, “Which airport is the safest in the world?” If you knew this one, then you are very up to date on international safety regulations because the answer is Ben Gurion airport in Israel. Named after Israel’s first Prime Minister, this top notch hub goes above and beyond to be known as a top safety airport for travelers.
Although safety threats happen at every airport, Ben Gurion hasn’t had a significant issue in over 30 years. It is the largest international airport in Israel located just 12 miles from Tel Aviv. Aside from its stellar safety rating it has also been voted one of the top five airports for passenger experience in the Middle East. And with over 16 million passengers coming and going in 2015, Ben Gurion airport has their system down to a science.
Up until 2014 the airport had an elaborate passenger rating system that would alert all employees of the perceived threat level each person played. With a ranking of 1-6T, the process ended because it allowed for discrimination amount flyers. 1-2 being the lowest were given to Israeli passengers who were not considered a threat. 2 for foreign diplomats. 3 was for foreigners who were not considered a threat. 4 for those slightly considered a threat. 5 for those strongly considered a threat. 6 for those considered extremely risky and 6T for those considered to be an extreme threat. Now this system definitely had it’s flaws. I read an article about a non Israeli journalist who was on assignment in the country and traveling alone. Because of these qualifications he was give a 5, which you can see lists him as considered a strong threat. So nevertheless the system was done away with a couple of years ago.
So what do they do now you ask? Well this airport is staffed with some of the best employees in the world for handling safety and determining potential threats. Staffed with hundreds of security guards both uniformed and in regular clothes everyone plays an intricate part. If a person waiting in line or in the terminal is acting suspicious or nervous a non-uniformed (undercover) security guard will strike up a conversation with them to gage the situation. This will tell them if the person is just nervous because of flying or if they cause a threat to security.
If you are flying through Ben Gurion airport you do want to give yourself extra time for check in and security. Each passenger is asked a series of sometimes non travel related questions to understand their mental state. Some passengers are asked a simple round of 1-3 questions, others can spend an hour with security. They meet the highest global standards in security. And although security is strict, it is not personal and only meant to continue their 3 decade streak of safety.
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