Match of airline ticket to ID being phased in


POSTED: Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Question: I read that the Transportation Security Administration will be looking at ID cards and plane tickets to see that the names are the same, including checking to see that middle names are on the tickets. I purchased my ticket from Hawaiian Air, but it does not have my middle name. I called Hawaiian Air reservations and was told they cannot make changes on names on the reservations, that they can only make a note of middle names. But my middle name is still not on my reservation. How can I fix the problem?

Answer: For now, you don't have to worry, because the Secure Flight program is being phased in.

“;For the near future,”; TSA says it is allowing for “;small differences”; between an ID and reservation information, such as using a middle initial instead of a full middle name or using no middle name or initial.

The fact that your middle name is not on your ticket shouldn't cause a problem.

However, TSA warns, “;Over time, passengers should strive to obtain consistency between the name on their ID and their travel information.”;

TSA describes Secure Flight as “;a behind-the-scenes”; collaborative process with the airlines to compare information provided by a passenger against government watch lists.

The program was developed by the Department of Homeland Security in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It involves prescreening passenger information against federal watch lists of known and suspected terrorists on domestic and international flights.

Airline operators have been responsible for checking passengers against the watch lists, but TSA will completely assume that responsibility on Dec. 1.

Secure Flight began being phased in on May 15, when airlines began asking customers to enter exact names as shown on government-issued IDs when purchasing tickets.

TSA explains that the name you provide when booking a ticket is used to check the government watch lists even before a boarding pass is issued.

Phase II begins Aug. 15, when travelers also will be asked to enter their gender and date of birth as they appear on government-issued IDs, said Keoni Wagner, spokesman for Hawaiian Airlines.

TSA says requiring the date of birth and gender of each passenger will allow it “;to better differentiate (the ticket holder) from individuals on the government watch list.”;

“;Full implementation is required by Dec. 1, when the TSA takes over management of the security 'watchlist' matching process,”; Wagner said. “;All airlines are working on the necessary software programming and procedures to accommodate the new program.”;

Each airline is working on its own phase-in schedule, implementing the name requirements as they are able to make the necessary changes to their systems.

Hawaiian Air expects to have all the necessary changes in place by Aug. 1, Wagner said.

For more information, go to www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/layers/secureflight.

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