US Airlines ordered not to issue tickets for passengers without proper ID

Passengers intending to travel to and through the USA on both domestic and international flights may not be allowed to fly if they don’t have proper identification.

Beginning November 1, 2010, ticketed passenger reservations without full Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) will be subject to sanctions by the airlines.

Under the Secure Flight program, the Transport Security Administration (TSA) requires airlines to collect and transmit to TSA the SFPD that is pre-screened against government watch lists for domestic and international flights. Therefore, it requires all airlines domestic and international flying to or from a U.S. destination or through U.S. airspace to transmit SFPD regardless of the distribution channel through which the reservation is booked. Additionally, it applies to all U.S. based airlines regardless of where they fly globally.

In other words, it is compulsory for U.S. based airlines to comply with TSA regulations.

These new regulations even apply to children – if a parent or guardian does not have full identification details for a child, that child will not fly until full I.D. is provided.

To comply with the new regulations, passengers must provide:

1) Complete name
2) Date of birth
3) Gender
4) Redress number if available

A redress number is a unique number that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) currently assigns to individuals who use the DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP) Under the Secure Flight program.  Individuals who already possess a Redress Number will need to use that same number in all correspondence with DHS and when making future travel reservations.

If the Secure Flight Passenger Data is not provided than airlines may impose sanctions (e.g. cancelling flights) for those ticketed reservations that do not have Secure Flight data in the airline PNR (the reservation booking number). Airlines are mandated to transmit the required information to TSA at 72 hours prior to the scheduled time of flight departure.  Which begs the question, what happens to people who make last minute bookings?

Whilst I do agree that the United States has every right to protect its borders, these rules do seem to be a bit draconian, especially as the impact of the new regulations will probably be greatest on U.S. citizens.  The reason being that foreign nationals already travel with passports which contain all the required information.  Many Americans who travel domestically, especially those without drivers’ licences (such as young children) may find it difficult to provide adequate proof of identification.  I know that children can sometimes act atrociously, especially at times when it causes the most embarrassment to their parents, but are American authorities that paranoid they really believe children are a genuine terrorist threat?

Given that on average, about 42,000 Americans are killed in car accidents each year, and the annual average death rate from murders in the U.S. is 16,000, American authorities may be better off banning both cars and guns if they wish to keep America safe.

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