Secure Flight Changes November 1st

By | October 31, 2010
self destroying sticker seal of the TSA, stick...
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Tomorrow, November 1st, is a key date in the TSA’s Secure Flight program. In short, the Secure Flight program requires the TSA to assume responsibility for watch lists from the individual airlines. which seems a good idea, if we much have watch lists.

After November 1, 2010, Secure Flight will not conduct watch list matching or approve the issuance of a boarding pass by an airline if complete passenger data is not submitted. Airlines must collect the full name, gender, date of birth, and redress number(if applicable).

We were trying to explain this to someone when they asked the logical question. What about last minute bookings? TSA Secure Flight data is supposed to be provided at the time of booking. But, within 72 hours, airlines must submit the information as soon as they are given it. TSA’s watch list matching takes a matter of seconds and can be completed up until the time of departure, but a boarding pass will not be issued until the airline submits complete passenger data to Secure Flight.

As for the matching of the name on the ID, the TSA states: “Small differences in the name on the boarding pass and ID, like middle initials, should not impact your travel. It is not uncommon for the information printed on boarding passes to differ slightly from the information on IDs, depending on the boarding pass printing practices of individual airlines.

However, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t match and it doesn’t mean that making a mistake will not cause problems. There are enough stories of people having trouble for us to advise that you do not miss it. So, be prepared.

We screen people’s luggage, we ask for their birthdays to ensure we have positively identified each person who is traveling against a list. But ultimately, does that make us more secure? Is there a better way? What do you think?

If you have any stories of problems caused by the new security requirements, drop us a line.