Airport 24/7: Miami, goes inside the Penalty Box for security

Paula Duffy's picture

Tonight's installment of the Travel Channel's Airport 24/7: Miami takes a look at the kind of response required when a security code signalling a hijack situation comes from an arriving aircraft.

Miami International Airport (MIA) was designated as a Category "X" facility, meaning it is a prime target for terrorist attacks in the opinion of Homeland Security.

An attack can come in all shapes and sizes. There are those that come from within the airport itself or some that might be tied to a flight arriving from some destination.

In tonight's episode, "Category X", viewers are taken behind the scenes as a SWAT team responds to a threat based on a signal from an aircraft landing at MIA.

What does it do to the rest of the airport operations? Believe it or not, unless a threat is confirmed, passengers are rarely aware of what is happening.

Where does an airport tell an incoming flight to go when a hijack code is sent? The Penalty Box. Check out the video posted below.

It is a walled area isolated away from the terminals. The show allows us to spend time with Lauren Stover, Director of Security as she monitors activity in the Penalty Box.

The SWAT exercise and the problems it causes is only one small part of a day in the life of MIA staff.

Viewers are taken inside the airport operations with Darius Bradshaw. As Terminal Operations Control Room Agent, it's Bradshaw's job to keep the wheels turning for the travelers.

Two flights are ready for check-in simultaneously and 600 passengers are fuming about the wait. When Darius Bradshaw arrives on the scene with his walkie-talkie he knows he has to take command and do it quickly.

One of the things he counsels travelers to have ready when there are issues keeping them from moving smoothly through the process is: "Know the flight information," he says. "For us, this is a unique identifier, almost like your social security number. It tells us what we need to know, what airline to contact when resolving issues."

With the angry mob of 600 people, that isn't the problem. It's getting them serviced and moving in order to keep the backup from affecting the entire day.

Airport 24/7: Miami airs tonight on the Travel Channel at 9:00 p.m. ET. A replay of earlier episodes follows. Image: Miami International Airport

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