Huffpost Travel

'Airport 24/7': Lauren Stover Talks The Show, Airport Security & What She Looks For In An Airport

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"Airport 24/7," a new Travel Channel show focusing on the inner workings of Miami International, debuts Tuesday night. The show marks a new entry into the world of aviation that customers don't often get to see.

"I felt that this was a world that was much maligned," show creator Chris Sloan tells the Associated Press. "Whenever you go to an airport, there are always signs that say, 'Staff Only,' 'Do Not Enter,' 'Prohibited Area,' 'Alarm Will Go Off.' But we actually go to all those places, and that's unique."

Sloan, a longtime commercial aviation fan with a hobby of collecting photos and memorabilia from airports around the world, will now have the opportunity to reveal the intriguing behind-the-scenes aspects of airport life.

Before the show airs Tuesday, HuffPost Travel caught up with Lauren Stover, Miami International's Assistant Aviation Director of Public Safety, Security and Communications to get her feelings on the show.

HuffPost Travel: When did you get involved with the show?
Lauren Stover: About two years ago, the producers came to us with the idea for the show. Because of the nature of the show, we had to do background checks on everyone involved. They filmed for several months and created a "sizzle reel."

HPT: What's your role at the airport?
LS: I'm one of four assistant directors at the airport. I had served as Communications Director at MIA and then went to the TSA when it was first created to do communications for the south east region. Then, when the Department of Homeland Security started, I worked with them, too. Now I'm back at MIA wearing two hats: security and communications. Sometimes I feel like I have to keep secrets from myself [given my dual positions]!

HPT: Miami was the first U.S. airport to use the much discussed "behavior pattern recognition" amongst security. What are your thoughts?
LS: Behavior is an important indicator of someone's intention. We try to detect anomalies in human behavior ... Technology can come and go, but behavior is here to stay. We have 38,000 employees at MIA. We got the Miami Police Department to come in and train our civilian employees in it -- we started with the janitors.

HPT: You used to work for the TSA. The organization is so often criticized. What are your thoughts?
LS: It's hard to sell the TSA. 99.9% of travelers are honest. Having security isn't convenient, but airports have to get it right every day. Look, the TSA hires from the human race, and we aren't perfect.

HPT: What do you think makes MIA a compelling airport for a TV show?
LS: Nearly half of our traffic is international, plus our geographic location makes us unique. We are the fastest growing airport in the United States, and we have 100,000 passengers a day. People bring all types of things through MIA. If it can happen, it can happen at MIA.

Look, we're not trying to put lipstick on a pig, but we want to show the customers what we do as they have the right to know what we do to keep them safe. Our airport's director hates having [law enforcement officers with] guns in the airport -- he thinks it's scary -- while I love it. We're not Disney World! The camera crew had to sleep in the airport; we gave them walkie talkies to be on our frequency so they knew what was going on at all times. We couldn't have some bozo come in with a gun, react and have the crew miss it.

HPT: What do you look for in an airport?
LS: I feel their pain at places like JFK. It's the "bad rap syndrome" of airports. To me, the mark of a good airport is cleanliness, good customer service and convenient security, which, to me, go hand in hand.

Check out Lauren in action in the clip above.

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