Flying Without an ID


I just got back from Washington DC. At no point during my journey did I have a government issued ID on hand. This seems to be incontrovertible proof that you can indeed fly without a government issued ID.

Now, by “no government issued ID”, I do not mean “presented a social security card, along with several non-government photo IDS.

As Bob Marley once sang, “hey mister police officer, I ain’t got no birth certificate right here.”

Flying to and from Washington DC, I only showed one form ID: my checkcard, which has my picture on it. I prepared an array of various papers, IDS, and whatnots to prove my identity, but no one ever seemed to interested in looking at anything more than my bank of America card.

Now, this may sound like crazy talk to a lot of you. I can’t blame you for thinking this. After all, the TSA’s website explicitly states that you are required to produce government photo ID. And amusingly enough, once I was in DC, Continental Airlines finally replied to my inquiry with the following :

You will need a government issued ID such as Birth Certificate, Social Security card, Passport.  In addition to the government issued ID we will accept credit card, proof of Auto Insurance in your name, Company ID, Library card. The government issued ID is essential.

Oh Continental – stop teasing.

So than – what is the deal? Why are the lying to us?

Well – my guess is that both the TSA, and various carriers have decided that maybe its time to treat travelers like human beings.  Let me be the first to applaud the TSA (for the first time in my life) for this change of heart. Besides, I don’t really buy the argument that having a drivers license means you’re not a danger to the public. I mean really – its pretty silly when you say it aloud.

So – if you are flying without an ID, do not assume your airline follow has a lax policy – BUT – also understand that they are apparently not going to tell you the truth until you make it to the ticket counter. TSA will require you to go through secondary screening – so make sure to get there 15 minutes early (it took me 5 to 10 extra minutes both times).

Anyways, just some interesting information.