TSA Secure Flight begins today…Potential problems

The TSA’s new program, Secure Flight,  will begin today and I am worried. (Please see yesterday’s post or visit the TSA press release to read more about this program.) I won’t go into my personal, political beliefs about this, but I see some problems with implementation and enforcement of their procedures.

There seems to be a difference in what they are requiring and how best to carry it out. When you go through the security line, the TSA looks at your ticket, NOT at your reservation. They would need access the airline’s computer reservation system (CRS) in order to see your reservation.

The TSA says, “Your name, as it appears on your reservation, must match the Government Issued Photo ID you will be presenting to check-in EXACTLY. If your ID contains your middle initial or name, your reservation must also reflect such.”

Your name on your reservation in the CRS may be correct, but due to the number of characters in your names, and the limitations on the name field on computer generated tickets, your full name may not print out on your ticket.

They go on to say, “This only applies to reservations made on or after May 15th.”

By looking at your ticket, the TSA can see the date your ticket was issued. They cannot see when your reservation was made. Your reservation could have been a number of days before your ticket was issued. Again, they would need to have access to the airline’s CRS in order to determine the date of your reservation.

Maybe I am being cynical. Perhaps the TSA has recently outfitted all of their security checkpoints with airline computer reservation systems and trained all of their employees in how to use it and look up the history of your reservation. But I am doubtful.

We’ll see how this plays out. In the meantime, be sure to carry a government issued ID that matches your reservation and carry a copy of your confirmed itinerary with your tickets. This printed itinerary may be helpful if the name filed on your ticket cannot contain all of the characters in your name.