February 02, 2003
Flying without ID

Worldwide, airlines are picky about passengers showing ID before checking in, before boarding, etc etc. An average Monday morning I'm now asked for my passport 3-5 times before even sitting in my seat. (Howcome five?? If I have bags to check in: 1 by a security guard before checking in, then 1 at checkin (avoid those two by using e-tickets and self-checking) , then 1 at French passport control for exiting the Schengen area, 1 at the boarding gate and then once in a while an extra time after going through boarding gate by security officers before barding the plane...)

Some American dude, ever proud of his "God-given constitutional rights", has pushed the envelope:

This Nazi procedure of "your papers, please" has never been appropriate for our country. I have had occasion to travel a good deal in the last several months, and on those trips I decided to research and test this issue about the necessity for producing identification. I have talked with agents, and their supervisors, of several major airlines in cities across America, and have gradually pieced together a rather complete picture of the real legal situation regarding our right to travel. (via Jeremy Zawodny)
So you can't legally be forced to produce ID in the US. Do I care? Nah... As a frequent flyer myself, I guess I've gone a bit numb with the ID question. When flying intra-Schengen flights I guess I could always try something similar, but I guess everyone on board feel safer if the other passengers have produced ID as well...? I'm not sure about European legislation on the issue, but it might well be stricter than in the US...

Bonus, real-life anecdote: Once, only once, have I been stranded without my passport. Of course, Murphy's law struck with full force: September 10th, 2001 I forgot my travel-wallet at home. The ever-friendly gate agents in Nice of course let me on the flight -- I knew them all by name and they knew me - no problem bending the requirements for letting me on the flight. Of course, as we all know, the next day, airport security was forever tightened and that Friday I had to rush off to the Norwegian general consulate to have a one-day emergency passport-document issued. Now, of course the added irony was that this document is meant for Norwegians stranded abroad needing passage home; i.e. it's only valid for travel to Norway (no option for expat Norwegians). KLM let me on anyway and after that I've been particularly conscientious when packing my carryon-luggage :-)

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When travelling with RyanAir from Hahn (Germany) to Gerona (Spain) two weeks ago, I was very surprised to see that my passport was only checked once at the checkin. There I received a plastic, non-named boarding pass with which I could pass through security check (no ID check) and get onto the airplane (dito). After checking in, I could have passed on my boarding pass to anyone and he would have gotten onto the plane!

Posted by: Martin Roell on February 2, 2003 09:57 PM

I recently had my wallet stollen saturday night. I am flying to kansas with my boyfriend on dec. 21st. My ID and birth certificate along w/ ss card were in the wallet. Therefore I don't have any ID TO SHOW AT THE AIRPORT. I CANNOT MISS THIS TRIP. WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE?


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