Travelling during a terrorist attack

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On the 22nd March 2016, I travelled back from a five day trip to Berlin with a few friends from university.

That morning was to be a memorable one throughout Europe as it was the same day as the bombings in Brussels. Attacks took place at the Brussels Airport at around 8am and Maalbeek metro station at around an hour later.

…an eerie atmosphere in the German capital…

Travelling via the metro in Berlin to Schonefeld airport had an eerie atmosphere in the German capital as we were checking out of the hotel when the news was announced. We noticed no real change to security around the much smaller stations on the line, but the bigger stations like Ostkreuz and Ostbahnhof had more security present as they connected to destinations across Europe.

Trains on the EU interrail were affected as all of Brussel’s train stations were closed. This caused delays and cancellations on trains west throughout the morning. Luckily I came across no problems on the train lines and arrived at the airport earlier and awaited further instructions.

Upon arrival security was high

Upon arrival security was high as we had expected throughout the airport and especially in the check-in hall where two nail bombs went off in Brussels airport. Thanks to the fast-paced check-in systems now in place at most airports around the world, this procedure was passed through quickly and without any feeling of a threat. This was thanks to the security helping passengers feel they could advance through the airport without worrying about a repeat incident just like Brussels.

Once past security, normality resumed in the departure lounge as safety measures have gradually increased over the years of airplane travel. Arriving into England was as expected with security higher than normal but moving through the airport the same pace.

What I learnt from travelling back on the same day as a terrorist attack was that the best thing to do is to remain calm. If the airport is closed for whatever reason, the authority and staff have decided that it’s best for the travellers. Just like in my experience, extra security is there to make passengers feel safer prior to their flight. I believe that passengers should not be put off flying to certain destinations or travelling on the same day if the flights are considered safe enough to go ahead.

Posted by Matthew Weston

Matt is a Freelance Writer and Travel Blogger. He also creates editorial and video content for UNILAD. Previously worked for the International Business Times and the BBC's Newsnight.

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