The Transportation Security Administration’s Secure Flight program, which was developed on a recommendation by the 9/11 Commission, went into effect November 1. Secure Flight turns over terrorist watch-list screening to the TSA and requires travelers to provide identification information when buying a ticket.
Travelers must now provide the airline with their full name (as it appears on their ID), gender, date of birth, and redress number (if applicable) when buying a ticket. (A redress number is for passengers who have the same name as someone on the watch list or who has been misidentified.)
That information will be turned over to TSA 72 hours before the flight, allowing TSA to conduct behind-the-scenes terrorist watch-list matching before the airline issues a boarding pass. The program is designed to increase security and, at the same time, reduce watch list misidentifications and their subsequent delays. When a flight is booked within the 72-hour window, Secure Flight data will be sent to TSA immediately. Secure Flight list matching takes seconds to complete and, once approved, boarding passes can be printed out at home or at the airport.
If data is incomplete or not submitted, Secure Flight will not approve issuance of a boarding pass. Passengers who book flights before November 1 and did not provide the now-required information should contact their airline or travel agent before the flight.
Once a passenger receives his or her boarding pass, the Secure Flight process is complete. If a small detail on a boarding pass, such as a middle initial, for example, does not match the traveler’s ID, the discrepancy should not affect travel. TSA says it will take into account that various airlines may not print the exact same details on boarding passes.
Go to the TSA Web site for more information.