Forgot Your ID? You Can Still Fly

still fly

In the middle of September I wrote about how NY driver’s licenses + 3 other states won’t be valid for domestic flights in the future. Who knows if this will really happen…

This led me to look into what else is considered a valid form of ID. We could always bring a passport along but I prefer to leave mine at home unless I’m leaving the country.

Since I live in New York, I’d probably use my Global Entry ID card or get a passport card eventually.

While reading into valid forms of identification, something really interesting caught my eye.

Could you imagine showing up to the airport and then realizing that you forgot your ID? My guess is that you’d be rushing home to get it and/ or missing your flight. However, this might not be the case.

According to TSA.gov:

In the event you arrive at the airport without proper ID, because it is lost or at home, you may still be allowed to fly. By providing additional information, TSA has other ways to confirm your identity, like using publicly available databases, so you can reach your flight“.

I was definitely more than a bit surprised to read this. I can’t imagine at TSA officer taking the time to try to confirm a passenger’s identity nor would I really expect them to.

I’d love to hear more about how they actually go about confirming someone’s identity through a database? Any ideas?

Have any of you ever forgotten your ID before a domestic flight and still been allowed to fly? If so, please let us know how your identity was confirmed.

The other things I wondered was if your ID is confirmed, is it also a hassle on the way back or is some sort of note made on your ticket about the situation?

8 thoughts on “Forgot Your ID? You Can Still Fly

  1. For my cousin in high school, they accept his school ID. I’ve seen them use two credit cards for someone ahead of me to confirm identity

  2. If you ever applied for a driver’s license or passport you are on a government database that all peace officers have access to usually from cops to tsa probably to probation officers etc

  3. I’m sure your picture is out there on a database they have access to that we are not privy to. I seriously doubt they use “publicly available information” to verify your identity. It must be information only you and law enforcement have access to.

  4. Ryan- That’s pretty crazy!

    AJ- Was your cousin flying with family? Interesting about the credit cards. If I forgot my ID, its most likley that I’d be forgetting my wallet which has my CCs inside!

    Jay- Good point! That would definitely make sense.

    FreeTravelGuys- Definitley could be.

    Colin- Interesting. Did they ask you why you had expired Ambien? 🙂

    1. I’ve explained how this works on FT some years ago and it still works the same way. For the most part, they try to rely upon info from commercial databases/records (some of the kind of stuff that would be accessible via a credit report, public records filings, etc.) and ask questions to see if your answer match close enough to what they ask to try to verify ID. They are also known to rely upon alternative ID, even mail, school yearbook and newspaper items. Basically it’s anything that makes them comfortable that you are the person you say you are and that seems to have some kind of paper or electronic trail evidencing the same. They don’t access things like IRS or passport records.

  5. GUWonder- It sounds like they accept various forms of IDs on a case by case basis. Thanks for the info! Do you happen to have a link to the FT thread? I can’t say that I go on there much.

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