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Keeping safe while traveling in Paris

Member Services
November 17, 2015
Categories: Safety, Destinations, Travel Tips, Security and Intelligence

After multiple terrorist attacks on Friday, the security situation in Paris is stabilizing as authorities are actively tracking down one individual alleged to have been involved in the attacks and others who potentially were involved. Tighter security at tourist sites, the airports, and borders may lead to delays for students, tourists, and businesspeople traveling, planning to travel, or living in Paris.

Paris is Open to Visitors                         

Paris is now getting back to normal with almost all major iconic cultural and tourist sites open, including the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. “Scheduled travel can proceed since the airports are open,” says Scott Hume, Associate Director of Security Response Services for Global Rescue. “There’s little threat of a follow-up attack. Paris will slowly return to normal with the next few days, but a heightened security presence will be in place indefinitely.”

Travel In and Out of Paris

The high-speed Eurostar trains between London and Paris were unusually empty this past weekend. Eurostar is advising travelers to “please allow for additional time to check in and complete all security checks before travel.” 

Most major airlines are now operating normally, going into and out of Paris. However, many carriers understand that some travelers feel uncomfortable and may want to reschedule their trips. Air France, United, and American Airlines have announced policies to accommodate people who bought tickets. Terms vary, but include the ability to waive change fees, allow passengers the opportunity to reschedule, apply the value of an original ticket towards a new ticket, postpone a trip, change your origin or destination, or cancel a trip entirely with a non-refundable voucher valid for one year.

Heightened Security

“A high volume of police and security services have already begun their investigations around Paris,” says Scott Hume. If you’re scheduled to fly, you might want to give yourself extra time to get to the airport and to go through tightened security. Consider signing up for alerts from your carrier to receive instant notification on flight changes.

The threat of terrorism in Europe is not new, and countries across the continent have been actively engaged in both domestic and international counterterrorism operations for many years.  “These attacks unfortunately provide more evidence that travelers need to remain vigilant and have emergency plans in place, even in countries and cities that are commonly perceived to be safe,” says Joe Mroszczyk, Manager of Intelligence Products and Services at Global Rescue. “Countries that are participating in the bombing campaigns against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have an elevated risk for retaliatory attacks from the terrorist group and its sympathizers.” However, it is important to also keep in mind that, despite the Paris attacks, these types of mass casualty terrorist attacks in Europe are rare.

Recommendations for tourists, students, and business travelers in Paris

--Scheduled travel can proceed with no issues since airports remain open.

--There is little threat of a follow on terrorist attack. Within the next few days, Paris will slowly return to normal, albeit with a heightened security presence which will be in place indefinitely.  

--A high volume of police and security services will be conducting investigations around the city.

-- Maintain your ability to communicate -- program your cell phone with emergency numbers.

-- Vigilance needs to extend across the continent. This is no longer simply a problem for Paris or for France; it is potentially a problem for all of Europe. No matter where you travel, there is reason to be vigilant.

-- Do not use public transportation at the height of day when most people travel.

-- Avoid big crowds or large events.

 


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