The Photo Escape
Saturday's Quotable Traveler

TSA's Secure Flight Program Changes

Keyboard and Passport

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is implementing a new safety measure for travelers. The Secure Flight Program will require airline passengers to give their name, gender and birth date when making a flight reservation to determine if there is a match to the No Fly or Selectee lists. By providing the additional information, Secure Flight can effectively help prevent misidentification of passengers who have similar names to individuals on the watch list and be more effective in screening for airline safety.

Secure Flight shifts pre-departure watch list responsibilities from the airlines to TSA and carries out a key recommendation of the 9/11 commission. When a passenger makes a reservation with an airline, travel agent or online company, the new data will be required. TSA is sensitive to privacy issues. Processes are still being worked out for a smooth transition from the airlines to the government agency. 

In addition to addressing misidentification, Secure Flight protects sensitive watch list data and enables officials to address security threats sooner, keeping air travel safer. By implementing one watch list matching system, the program provides a fair and consistent matching process across all airlines, according to a TSA press release.

If a passenger wants to book a flight 72 hours in advance, the name (should match the government issued ID he passenger intends to present at the airport), gender and birth date will be required for cross referencing by TSA. If the fight is made within the last 72 hours, TSA will require additional information at the time of the reservation. During the 72 hour window, TSA will have the ability to stop the issuance of a boarding pass until further screenings.

The Secure Program is being rolled out in stages; beginning with domestic flights first, then expanding to international flights to and from the U.S. The ATS encourages visitors to the U.S. and hopes this new program will facilitate approachable travel to the U.S. If a traveler has a complaint about the manner they were treated by a government program to promote safe travel, there is a one stop web site to voice concerns. There's a big green button: File a Complaint.

The name of the web site is: Department of Homeland Security's Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (www.dhs.gov/trip). It can also be used as the gateway to address watch list misidentification issues. Where travelers believe they have faced screening problems at ports of entry or situations where travelers believe they have been unfairly or incorrectly delayed, denied boarding or identified for additional screening at our nation's transportation hubs. Secure Flight plans to use this web site to prevent future misidentification issues for passenger who may have similar names to individuals on the watch list.