Well, airport security sure has changed over the years. Obviously, 9/11 was a significant milestone for that. That was over 20 years ago, but even before that, there were a lot of differences in airport security. One difference was that non-flyers, meaning non-passengers, could go right up to the gate. So if you were accompanying your family or picking somebody up from the airport, you could go through security and go up to the gate to either greet somebody coming off a plane or bring somebody to the gate. 

After 9/11, all of that changed, and the only people allowed to go through security were ticketed passengers. Take a look at the photo in the video, probably from the 1970s, of a typical airport security check. First of all, you notice the security people aren’t uniformed. They were usually employees of the airline. Look at the sides of the metal detector; they’re wide open; you can go right through this if someone distracted the guard. At the time, security wasn’t as advanced, and this gate is a perfect example of this where there are physical gaps in security. 

So, what about the gate if you’re not a ticketed passenger? Maybe you have relatives coming in from out of town and want to greet them at the gate. Perhaps you have a friend you’re bringing to the airport and want to hang out with them until the last minute. You can’t do that anymore unless you’re a ticketed passenger. However, there are a few workarounds. We’re not advocating doing anything illegal, immoral, or jeopardizing security. But a few methods are used, sometimes by private investigators, to see passengers board a plane if they need to prove activity or who the subject is meeting.

One way to do this is if you’re actually going with somebody to the airport, you can get a pass as an accompanying colleague. So if you’re traveling with a child, an older person, a person with a disability, or just too much luggage, you may be able to accompany them through this method. It doesn’t always work, and not every airline will approve it, but that’s one way to do it.

Another way we’ve seen this done is by purchasing a full fair refundable first-class ticket on the same day and getting a boarding pass, and you can go through security but not check in to the flight. Make sure the flight is booked for way later in the day, maybe eight or nine hours later, so that you have time to cancel the flight at least an hour before to get refunded. Now you can accompany someone at the airport after the security checkpoint. Make sure that whatever you do is legal and that you’re not breaking any laws, but this method may work to go through airport security if you’re not traveling. 

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