If You Hear This Secret Code Word at the Airport, There’s Probably a Security Threat

And here's what you should do next.

securityZentangle/ShutterstockAirports are easily some of the most security-obsessed places it’s possible to set foot in. On the one hand, it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry; but on the other hand, sometimes it seems a little much. For instance, do they really need to inspect your books? But if you hear these two words, there actually might be a genuine cause for concern.

According to Express, “Code Bravo” is the two-word phrase that airport security workers use in the event of an emergency or security breach. In case of a suspected threat, officers will likely yell out this phrase and command people to freeze. This will hopefully make it easier for them to locate or keep track of suspicious individuals.

However, this code doesn’t necessarily always mean danger. The TSA also uses it during airport security drills, which are pretty rare. (But hopefully not as rare as actual security threats!) Airports conduct these drills about once or twice a year, and usually during less busy times, for the purpose of training their officers in case of a real emergency. It probably won’t be clear at first whether or not it’s just a drill, but a TSA spokesperson claims that the drills only tend to last about a minute. Here are 13 other things TSA officers won’t tell you.

So what should you do if you hear these words? Well, you should probably obey and try to keep fairly still until further notice. If it’s a drill, how strictly the “freeze” rule will be enforced varies a lot by airport. You probably don’t need to attempt Mannequin Challenge-level stillness, but it might not be wise to keep striding toward the Cinnabon as if nothing’s happening. Here are 13 more things that will probably get you flagged by the TSA.

[Sources: Express, The New York Times]

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Meghan Jones
Meghan Jones is a Staff Writer for RD.com who has been writing since before she could write. She graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and has been writing for Reader's Digest since 2017. In spring 2017, her creative nonfiction piece "Anticipation" was published in Angles literary magazine. She is a proud Hufflepuff and member of Team Cap.