The TSA's Secure Flight program officially takes effect today. All travelers must provide their full name as it appears on their government-issued ID, date of birth, and gender when booking.
The TSA has been phasing in the program over the past year—in fact, anyone who has flown during that time has probably been prompted to enter their information under the new Secure Flight parameters. But now that this "grace period" is over, all bookings should fit within the Secure Flight guidelines.
Secure Flight is mostly a behind-the-scenes program the TSA says should cut down on false matches of names on the various watch lists.
The TSA posted an FAQ on its site. Here are the highlights:
- Will passengers still be able to book a ticket within 72 hours of a flight? Yes. TSA’s Secure Flight program can conduct watch list matching for passengers up until the time of the flight.
- What happens if a passenger has an existing reservation for travel after November 1, 2010, and did not provide complete Secure Flight data when booking his or her flight? TSA advises passengers to contact their airlines or booking sources prior to arriving at the airport to ensure they have provided their full name, date of birth, gender, and Redress number (if applicable) as part of their reservations. While TSA’s watch list matching takes a matter of seconds and can be completed up until the time of departure, passengers should be aware that a boarding pass will not be issued until the airline submits complete passenger data to Secure Flight.
- What if a passenger’s boarding pass and ID do not match exactly? At the security checkpoint, TSA strives to ensure your identification and boarding pass are authentic and validate you are who you say you are. 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.
Readers, have you encountered the Secure Flight process yet?