A string of recent incidents in Latin America has prompted United Airlines to warn its flight attendants to exercise extreme vigilance and maintain situational awareness while on layovers.
United Airlines Urges Crews To Be Vigilant After Incidents In Latin America
While mugging, robbery, and other violence can occur anywhere in the world, flight crews have recently been victimized in two Latin America nations, prompting a memo to flight attendants warning them to exercise extreme vigilance.
In two instances, flight crews were robbed at gunpoint in Colombia. In another instance, a “security incident” involving United flight attendants took place in Brazil.
United Airlines warns its crews:
Do not leave the hotel with expensive items, including jewelry, watches, cash, etc. Observe your surroundings and take note of any suspicious behavior, such as someone following you after leaving a restaurant. Consider staying in if you are planning to leave the hotel after dark in countries with higher crime rates, and be especially vigilant about your surroundings if you do go out.
In the event of a robbery, remain calm and obey the robber’s instructions. Money and property are not worth the price of your life. Assure the robber you will cooperate and take no action that may jeopardize your safety. Don’t make any quick or unexpected movements. After a robbery, get to a safe place and contact the police or local authorities—relay as much information as you can about the robber to assist in their investigation.
The advice is sound and applies to all travelers: it’s simply not worthwhile. Your phone is replaceable. So is your cash or your other electronic devices. You are not replaceable.
I would add one other piece of advice: backup your data immediately. I’ve learned the hard way (not through robbery, thankfully, but by other means) and lost hundreds of pictures because they were not backed up. The moment I reach wi-fi, the first thing I do is backup my photos. At least for me, my photos are much more valuable than my phone itself. Having everything backed up in the cloud makes me much less likely to fret over losing the phone.
The rare and specific warning to United Airlines flight crews follows a string of events in Latin America including Brazil and Colombia. But wherever you are in the world, whether you are a flight attendant or not, exercising caution and common-sense discernment like leaving valuables behind and not resisting a robbery make a great deal of sense.