Secure Flight Takes Effect

Not much attention has been paid to this in the media, but  TSA’s new Secure Flight program’s first phase has just been implemented.

This program is being put into place to try to eliminate, or at least reduce, the number of false positive matches against the government’s watch lists. Over the years since the no-fly list was implemented, children and babies have been delayed because their names were on the list. So have Federal Air Marshalls and even Senator Ted Kennedy.

So what does it mean for travelers? It means that every time you make a reservation, the airline will have to collect your full name, date of birth, and gender. Your full name includes your middle name, which wasn’t required before.

The following diagram, taken from the TSA’s website, illustrates the complete process:

TSA Secure Flight Process

TSA Secure Flight Process

If your information is approved by TSA, you will be able to get a boarding pass. If not, you will be submitted to additional screening.

The first phase, which goes into effect tomorrow, just requires that tickets be issued with the passenger’s full name as it appears on travel documents. The important detail here is that your name will need to exactly match your documentation. So:

  • If your driver’s license says Jonathan, and you used to fly as Jon, you’ll have to remember to have your tickets issued to Jonathan.
  • If you usually travel under your middle name, you’ll have to start using your full name.
  • You’ll want to make sure that your frequent flier accounts are under the same name you will travel. That will ensure that you get prompt credit for all travel

This last point is sure to cause more than a few headaches, as airlines’ systems usually require that the name on the ticket matches the name on the frequent flier account. My recommendation is to start updating them as soon as you can to ensure you get credit for all your flights.

Stay tuned for more information on when dates of birth and gender will be required.


Enrique Brener
KC Travel
N. Miami Beach, FL
FL Seller of Travel Reg. TI-35171


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