Thursday, December 20, 2007

Succesfully flew without ID, San Francisco, December 19, 2007

Airline: United
Airport: San Francisco
ID Offered: None
Date: December 19, 2007
Reference: Personal
Reason given: Want to be a selectee
Result: Successful
Description: In the security line, I told the TSA agent that I want to fly as a selectee. She mumbled "you forgot your ID" and I responded "I want to fly as a selectee." She handed me off to another agent who scribbled "SSSS" on my boarding pass and directed me to a line for selectees, which shared a metal detector with a regular line. The only difference is that bins in our line were brown instead of grey. I let several people go ahead of me, since I had plenty of time before my flight and they were running late. The line was moving slowly but everything was orderly and pleasant. My items were swab tested (before I even caught up to them) and I asked for a manual pat down instead of going through a puff machine. No information was recorded, and no one asked to see my boarding pass after the initial agent directed me to the selectee line. This has been one of the best experiences flying without ID. This may be due to the fact that these agents at San Francisco are not actually TSA agents, but from a private firm. Their uniforms display labels of both the TSA and the private firm.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

You only need to provide your first initial and last name to fly

Right in with the recent news that the TSA wants to collect full names, birthdays and genders as part of secure flight is the indication that currently you only need to provide your first initial and last name.
Does this mean that the airline only passes on your first initial and last name to the TSA, or do they pass along your full name if you give it to them?
Either way, I assume this means that you are free to provide the airline with only your first initial and last name.
I have always given my full name to the airline, but that meant that when the TSA recorded my boarding pass information as I chose to fly without ID, they got to record my full name because it was on my boarding pass. Although I have an uncommon last name, I would really prefer to only give my first initial and last name, and leave off the chance of the TSA keeping records that identify me more fully. Not for any good reason, just that it freaks me out that the federal government is keeping records of my movements.
Even if the rule does go into effect, providing this additional information would be optional.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

How to comment on Secure Flight

Secure flight is the plan whereby the TSA would approve each individual traveller for airplane travel, rather than the current system where the airlines check travellers against a watch list and no-fly list.

Written comments for secure flight must be received by November 21, 2007. Please leave a comment even if you don't think it will help. By my count there are only 291 comments as of today. There should be thousands...
Here's how to leave a comment.
1. Go to
2. Scroll down to "Optional Step 4" in the search box. Select category "Docket ID" from the dropdown menu. Paste "TSA-2007-28572" into the adjacent text box. Leave everything else as is. Press submit.
3. To leave a comment, click on the callout image:. It is on the right hand side under "Comments
Add/Due By". To view other people's comments, click on the link under "Docket ID".

Here's the TSA's information about secure flight.
What is so bad about secure flight?
1. It violates your privacy. The government would be collecting and storing large quantities of information about you.
2. It violates your explicit rights to freedom of assembly because it requires prior permission for you to travel. It also interferes with your implicit right to movement.
3. It places an undue economic burden on airlines and would increase passenger delays.

A good overview of problems with secure flight is available here and here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Portland, Expired ID, Successful, November 2007

Airline: ?
Airport: Portland
ID Offered: Expired driver's license
Date: November, 2007
Reference: Rachel
Reason given: Expired
Result: Successful
Description:The TSA gave me shit because my drivers license had expired. I forgot about this and if I'd remembered could have brought my passport. And I have a current license, but lost my wallet and then used my old expired license figuring I will go back to the DMV soon, and then haven't had time, and then forgot I had to do it. Soooo... it was super dumb, because an expired drivers license is still perfectly valid ID. The only reason it expires is to make you go back to the DMV to check your vision and if you are still competent to drive, or something. It's not like the ID-ness of it expires! There is your photo! Still very you-like! But the TSA is too dumb to realize that. And so put me down as having NO ID. Which also is no big deal and just means you go in a different line, which as a crippled person I do anyway, and they frisk you extra (which they do anyway since I'm crippled, naturally) and search my bag by hand.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fly without ID: The How-To Guide

There is a lot of good information that, at one time or another, I have provided in the sidebars. It is archived here (and regularly updated). Last updated Jan 17, 2008.

Other FAQs

Q. Can TSA look through my wallet to see if I have ID?
A. They probably shouldn't do this, but it has happened several times. They have also been known to photocopy personal papers (although the TSA has denied this).

Q. Can I refuse to be subjected to a search once I have entered the security area?
A. No. You consent to a search by entering the security area.

Q. Why doesn't the airline check my ID before I board the airplane? Wouldn't that make things more secure?
A. Money.

Q. Who are the ticket checkers?
A. In most airports, the ticket checker used to report to the airlines.
(Source) Recently, these ticket checkers were replaced by TSA agents (see this post).

Why this Blog Exists
You have the right, according to TSA (see this letter), to fly without ID, if you are willing to subject yourself to extra screening.

You can proceed with your boarding pass directly to the security line. Tell the agent who checks credentials that you are choosing to fly as a selectee. They will usually mumble something like "you forgot your ID?". You can just repeat that you are choosing to fly as a selectee. The TSA agent will mark "SSSS" on your boarding pass and will usually send you to a special line for additional inspection.

This inspection includes a hand check of your bag, swabs for explosives, and a puff test of your person in a big puff machine. You may refuse the puff test, and will get a manual pat-down instead.

Choosing not to show your ID to the TSA does not usually take much longer than going through the normal procedure, and in some cases may even be faster.

Previously, you needed to go to your airline's check in counter and ask to fly as a selectee so they can mark "SSSS" on your boarding pass before you go to the security line. This no longer seems to be necessary. If you need to check bags, or need to check in at the counter itself, some airlines may require ID for revenue protection. Please check the links above for information about individual airlines--most will accept alternative ID, such as a credit or library card.

In one case, the TSA recorded information from a boarding pass.

If you have successfully flown without ID or with non-governmental ID and would allow me to post your experience here, please email me the details at

You may lose the right to travel on airplanes without prior permission from the government. Additional information and instructions on how to comment on "Secure Flight".

Important Links

Edward Hasbrouck's blog
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Unsecure Flight
Papers please

Your right to fly without ID (proof at last)

View posts where...
Passenger was... Successful / Unsuccessful in flying without presenting ID to the government.
Passenger reported to authorities that they chose to not show ID or, alternatively, Lost ID.
Passenger was able to fly completely ID free, or showed alternative ID, or where the ID had .
Passenger departed from AUS / / BUR / / DCA /DFW / EWR /GPT / / LAX / MDW / /PHL /SFO /Virgin Islands Interesting experiences or news about TSA and id checkers.
Information concerning your privacy, TSA keeping a record of travelers and tsa enforcing corporate policy.
Passenger travelled on Southwest / Continental / Delta / American / United / Airtran (Note: If you have a pre-printed boarding pass, you no longer need to interact with the airline to fly without ID).
You may lose the right to travel on airplanes without prior permission from the government and invasive government databases. News on the frightening and realID programs.

The Mystery of "SSSS".
NOTE: As of 12/2008, the answers to these questions no longer appear to be relevant. Since the TSA is now performing ID checks, there is apparently no requirement for the airline to mark "SSSS" on your boarding pass.
This information is provided for historical purposes.
(source: Chris Soghoian and others)

Q: If I don't have SSSS on my boarding pass, can I go through security without any ID?

A: No.

Q: Will TSA write SSSS on my boarding pass if I don't have any ID?
A: No. You must get it done by the airline.
We will send you back to the airline.

Q: How do you know if I didn't just write the letters "SSSS" on the boarding pass myself
A: TSA: "We know. There are secret things that the airline staff will write that you won't recognize." Writing "SSSS" on the boarding pass yourself is probably illegal. Since all the laws are secret, we can't really know. According to
Chris Soghoian, "as things currently stand, unless I've missed something, it seems that the only thing stopping you from flying without any ID on continental airlines, is a sharpie pen, and a willingness to break a couple rules."

Airline Guide
NOTE: As of 12/2008, the willingness of individual airlines to let you fly without ID may no longer be relevant. Since the TSA is now performing ID checks, there is apparently no requirement for the airline to mark "SSSS" on your boarding pass. This information is provided for historical purposes.

Southwest - will quickly and efficiently (no questions asked) print you out a new boarding pass with "SSSS" or mark "No ID" with a stamp and some numbers on your boarding pass if you tell them you want to fly without ID as a selectee.
Continental - absolutely requires some form of ID (library cards, student ids or credit cards may work). Present this at the check in counter.
Northwest - will quite happily give you a special, machine-printed SSSS pass if you tell them you have forgotten ID. Source 1
: It may be easiest to print your boarding pass and bring it with you before you go up to the check in counter. You can use your confirmation number to print your boarding pass.

TSA rifles through wallet, confiscates ID

I have always wondered when flying as a selectee (declining to show ID) if the TSA might rifle through my wallet and find my ID for themselves. We know that we consent to a search of our belongings when we enter the security line, and that there is no option for refusal. While we have learned that the TSA may record things like the books we read, I have always assumed that the search itself must be reasonable. However, Dmitry Samarov reports that the TSA rifled through his wallet, examined his ID, found one that was fake (although very old), called the local law enforcement, and confiscated it. I have previously pointed out another case where TSA agents rifled through a wallet and asked a lot of questions. Our right to fly without presenting papers thus may be limited by the TSA rifling through our things to verify our identity. What are our rights when travelling?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How to board a plane without ID -- be a pageant queen

New York airports are now making security exceptions for graceful girls with big smiles. A tipster who saw the first episode (airing tonight) of MTV’s new reality show, “Pageant Place,” told us that when Miss Universe Riyo Mori forgot her ID while trying to board a flight from JFK to Bloomington, Ind., she convinced a TSA agent to let her through - by flashing her sash. “First she showed her head shot, but it didn’t work . . . so then she just pulls out her sash and the agent sent her through to security,” gasped the snitch. more...

Does your face need to match your ID?

Angry veteran reports that the TSA doesn't care about matching your face with your ID:
Finally after all of this I went to the supervisor and attempted to ask him why no one looked at my face when they checked my ID. He told me they are looking for fake ID's more than anything else. I then asked him why it would matter if it was "fake" or not, if you don't look at the face on the ID. So as long as you have a real ID regardless if it is yours, you are all set to fly, as far as the TSA is concerned. To this he responded "I will talk to the ID checker". This useless ass though that there wasn't a problem with their security. more...

Friday, October 19, 2007

No ID necessary says TSA, IDs to be checked with blacklight

According to TSA spokeswoman Andrea McCauley:

Do you need a photo ID to fly?
No, but you'll undergo "secondary screening," the more involved screening that some passengers find time-consuming and/or invasive. If many passengers arrive without IDs, that would add to wait times, officials said.

Also, the Transportation Security Administration, which has taken over document-ticket screening at U.S. airports, is rolling out small black lights and loupes (magnifying lenses) to 1,300 specially trained screeners who check suspicious IDs in the ticket lines.

Secure Flight update


US demands air passengers ask its permission to fly | The Register: Under new rules proposed by the Transport Security Administration (TSA) , all airline passengers would need advance permission before flying into, through, or over the United States regardless of citizenship or the airline's national origin.
The new rules mean this information must be submitted 72 hours before departure. Only those given clearance will get a boarding pass. The TSA estimates that 90 to 93 per cent of all travel reservations are final by then.

The proposed rules require the following information for each passenger: full name, sex, date of birth, and redress number (assigned to passengers who use the Travel Redress Inquiry Program because they have been mistakenly placed on the no-fly list), and known traveller number (once there is a programme in place for registering known travellers whose backgrounds have been checked). Non-travellers entering secure areas, such as parents escorting children, will also need clearance.

The TSA held a public hearing in Washington DC on 20 September, which heard comments from both privacy advocates and airline industry representatives from Qantas, the Regional Airline Association, IATA, and the American Society of Travel Agents. The privacy advocates came from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Identity Project. All were negative.

The proposals should be withdrawn entirely, argued Edward Hasbrouck, author of The Practical Nomad and the leading expert on travel data privacy. "Obscured by the euphemistic language of 'screening' is the fact that travellers would be required to get permission before they can travel."

Hasbrouck submitted that requiring clearance in order to travel violates the US First Amendment right of assembly, the central claim in John Gilmore's case against the US government over the requirement to show photo ID for domestic travel.

In addition, the TSA is required to study the impact of the proposals on small economic entities (such as sole traders). Finally, the TSA provides no way for individuals to tell whether their government-issued ID is actually required by law, opening the way for rampant identity theft. ...

Airline ID rejected at Reagan National

As with anything posted here, this could have been due to the whims of an individual TSA agent at Reagan National:

TSA agent checking boarding passes would not accept her airline ID as identification. Her
FAA-approved, state-issued ID that allows her to walk through security gates at her own airport without even taking her shoes off. It had to be a driver’s license, she was told, and only a driver’s license. source

Monday, October 15, 2007

TSA takes on primary ID checks at airports

Here are more details about my observation that TSA is now doing the primary ID checks at airports:
September 26 was the first day that TSA took over the ID checking.
News reports suggested that the process can now take almost an hour since Transportation Security Administration agents took over the job of checking travel documents on Wednesday. Prior to the change, airlines checked passengers' identification. The TSA says it will do a more thorough job, causing longer delays at checkpoints. Passengers must still show their identification and tickets to security personnel, but the personnel are now government workers.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, this means that TSA is probably now enforcing the policies of the airlines (unless they are letting people fly without ID who haven't been approved by the airline). I worry that this may be unconstitutional.
Source 1. Source 2.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, August 2007, Successful after changing airlines

Airline: Multiple
Airport: St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands (STT),
ID Offered: None
Date: August, 2007
Reference: Andy
Reason given: Fly as a selectee/without ID
Result: Successful, after changing airlines and giving fingerprints
On my return trip I experienced I bit of a delay due to the ignorance of some of the personnel at the air line check-in counters. I tried some friendly arguing with them as best I knew how, mostly in the form of simple questions, but in the end I found that such an approach was not very fruitful as I am not likely to be able to teach anyone anything they didn't already know and because I also found that both TSA and the US Customs personnel claimed, as I understood them, that they were not allowed to provide any info or orders to any of the airline personnel. By my dialogue with various parties, including also the local airport police officers, I was able, eventually, to gather that the most likely solution to such ignorance is to simply go to another airline ticket counter and buy another ticket from them. I did so both in St Thomas (STT) and in West Palm Beach (PBI) and both times I was able to promptly get the required boarding passes without any further trouble.

Additionally, before I learned to go to the next air line ticket counter for alternate travel, I learned that I could go through the US Customs at St Thomas prior to getting my boarding pass, thereby breaking the false presumptions of the airline personnel that the US Customs would not allow me to pass. By so doing I was routed to the Customs supervisory officer who courteously handled the situation by fingerprinting me, and by so doing recognizing me, by my God given identifiers – not by a Government ID - as having the rights of traveling within the 50 states of the union.

LAX to Virgin Islands, Successful, August 2007

Airline: ??
Airport: LAX
ID Offered: None
Date: August, 2007
Reference: Andy
Reason given: Fly as a selectee/without ID
Result: Successful
During the latter half of August this year (2007) I traveled from Los Angeles (LAX) to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands (STT) and back without using any government issued IDs, passports, or indeed any identification documents issued by man.

When asked for my IDs I simply answered: "I am traveling without IDs today." I was then promptly and without further comments issued a special boardingpass with an "SSSS" code which was highlighted in yellow and/or circled, after which I was able to proceed onto my plane without further trouble. However, I was urged to make certain that I got the TSA stamp upon the boarding passes while going through the TSA security check. Said stamp was obtained without any further initiative from my side. Because of my traveling without IDs I did get an extra careful security check including also my bags. (There were no further security checks when transferring between planes of the same airline at other airports.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

TSA now recording names of people who fly without ID

At Midway airport this past weekend, when I chose to fly without ID, the TSA agent took my boarding pass and wrote down the majority of information from the boarding pass (Name, flight into, destination, confirmation number) onto a form. I asked her what the form was, and if I could have a copy, and she basically indicated to me that it was not my business. (Note that no forms were filled out on my return trip through Philly.)

This brings up a number of rather important questions:
1. Is there a statute or rule that allows the TSA to routinely record traveler information, with or without an ID?
2. How long does the TSA store this information for, and what is it used for? Do travelers have a right to check the accuracy of the information, or to have it expunged?
3. Is this really a secret form that citizens are not allowed to have a copy of? If a traveler requests that information not be recorded will that traveler be denied passage?

TSA now checking IDs at airports - government enforcing corporate policy

For all previous airline travel since ID checking began, IDs were checked by representatives of the airline or airport. It was these ID checkers responsibility to check for a valid government issued ID, unless the traveler had been approved by the airline for an additional security screening, in which case they either ensured that the boarding pass was appropriately marked for TSA or directed the traveler to TSA's attention. Since no ID is required by the TSA, it was these representatives who both enforced the airline's ID requirement (usually assumed to be a source of revenue control) and did the screening for ID for TSA.

Now that TSA has taken control of this process, it would appear that TSA is enforcing the airline's revenue control measures. Since TSA doesn't require an ID to fly, if a traveler cannot get the airline to let them fly without ID (e.g. Continental will not mark "SSSS"), will TSA enforce this corporate rule? At this point, it would then be easy for the TSA to suggest to each airline that they require ID, at which point they could deny the right to fly without ID despite their own rule. Is the TSA enforcing corporate policies? Corporate policies limiting free travel that are enforced by federal officers seems one step away from facism.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Southwest, Philadelphia, Successful, 9/31/07

Airline: Southwest
Airport: Philadelphia
ID Offered: None
Date: 9/31/07
Reference: Personal
Reason given: Fly as a selectee/without ID
Result: Successful
Description: As at Midway, Southwest handled my request to fly without ID as a selectee quickly and without a single word. However, this time, instead of stamping and writing on my boarding pass, the agent printed a new boarding pass with "SSSS" printed on it. I noticed upon getting up to security that TSA is now checking all IDs (on my return to Midway, I noticed the same there. See my post about this). I pointed the "SSSS" out to the TSA lady, and she wrote "No ID" a bit bigger on the pass and sent me down the same line as everyone else (this is different than at Midway; also she didn't write anything down). I put my things into the XRay scanner, and the TSA dude looked at my boarding pass and sent me just to the side, where I was quickly patted down (no puffer here); they transferred my bag and about 30 seconds later the explosives test was done and I was sent on my way via a very nice TSA agent. Took maybe one minute more than my traveling companion.

Southwest, Midway, 9/28/07, Successful

Airline: Southwest
Airport: Chicago Midway
ID Offered: none
Date: September 28, 2007
Reference: personal
Reason given: Asked to fly without ID/as a selectee
Result: Successful
Description: Upon asking to fly without ID as a selectee, the southwest agent immediately typed some information, took out a stamp and stamped something on my boarding pass (which I had printed at home), then took out a pen and wrote "no ID" and some numbers over the stamp. I said "thank you" and went on my way. It was over in less than 30 seconds, and was no hassle at all.
I got in the line and showed it to the ID checker. That person directed me to a TSA woman, who then wrote a bunch of information from the boarding pass onto a form, including, I think, my name and confirmation number, and flight information. She then escorted me to a separate screening area where I waited for them to fix the puffer machine. After several minutes, I went through the puffer machine. A few minutes later, they finished explosive testing my single bag, and I was on my way. I was a few minutes behind my travel companion.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Southwest, Burbank, August 2007, Successful

Airline: Southwest
Airport: Burbank, CA
ID Offered: ?
Date: August 7, 2007
Reference: Colleen Cason
Reason given: Forgot ID
Result: Successful
Description: Kitty LaPolla, an 82-year-old Camarillo resident, didn't have to show any stinkin' badges when she went through security at Burbank Airport on Aug. 7. At check-in, the gregarious great-grandmother discovered she had left her wallet with her driver's license at home. The Southwest Airlines ticket agent offered several suggestions on how LaPolla might get her ID to the airport in time to make her flight. None of those flew. No one has a key to her apartment except the manager, and it was too early to reach him. LaPolla can probably talk the chicken off the bone. This lady, who was in fact the 1998 Camarillo Chamber of Commerce's Senior of the Year, has survived cancer and the loss of her son in the Vietnam War. She started college at age 62 and became a reserve deputy sheriff in Imperial County at 65. For years, she served as a teacher's aide at El Rancho Structured School in Camarillo. "Basically I'm feisty as hell," she shared. This strong woman's primary weakness is playing the penny slots, which is why she wanted to visit a friend in Arkansas. The two planned a road trip to casinos up and down the Mississippi River. So the ticket agent had a dilemma. Delay and inconvenience a little, old lady or play hard ball on the ID issue. She relented, scrawling "NO ID" on her boarding pass and sent LaPolla on her way. The agent followed the rules, according to Paula Berg, spokeswoman for Southwest Airlines. "There are circumstances where we make allowances, such as passengers whose purses or wallets are stolen on their way to the airport," Berg said.. Contrary to what most of us believe, TSA rules state passengers can travel without ID if they agree to have their carry-on bags searched. LaPolla did just that. Or as she puts it, "I had to go through all that bologna."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Continental, Philadelphia, January 2007, Successful

Airline: Continental
Airport: Philadelphia
ID Offered: Library of Congress photo ID
Date: January, 2007
Reference: Chris Soghoian
Reason given: Lost ID
Result: Successful
Description:I flew from Philly back to Indianpolis today on Continental, and again got to try out the no ID experience (putting me up to a grand total of 5 flights without any ID at all, and 1 flight with my student ID).

I used the easy check-in machine at the airport to print out my boarding pass (by punching in my confirmation code - no credit card/ID necessary). I then told the Continental employee behind the counter that I had lost my ID at a bar the night before, and that I wasn't going to be able to produce any ID. One key question she (and her supervisor) seemed to find important was if this was my outgoing, or return flight. It seems they're more willing to be a bit flexible if you're 'stranded' somewhere.

Like last time, I told them I had read in the New York times that you can fly without ID if you get a special "SSSS" boarding pass. They didn't seem to be too happy to know that I knew their secret SSSS code...

I had handed over my boarding pass to them, and as she read me the rules, it seemed clear that she wasn't going to give it back to me without any ID. In the end, I handed over my Library of Congress 'reader' photo ID, and she wrote "SSS" (her mistake, not mine) on the boarding pass in ink.

Once I got to the TSA checkpoint, I told them I didn't have a single piece of ID - which worked just fine. Sure, I got checked, but I didn't have to show them anything at all, other than the marked boarding pass.

American, January 2007, San Francisco, Successful

Airline: American
Airport: San Francisco (SFO)
ID Offered: Credit card, Co-Op membership
Date: January, 2007
Reference: Chris Soghoian
Reason given: Choice
Result: Successful
Description: When I flew back from San Francisco this morning, it was my first attempt ever to fly on American Airlines without ID.
Every single time I've attempted to fly without ID, i've been able to successfully avoid showing TSA a single piece of ID - the tricky part is trying to get your boarding pass and check a bag without showing anything to the airline.

American demanded 'some' form of ID. I didnt' want to argue too much, so I whipped out a credit card and my Bloomingfoods Organic Food Co-Op membership card, gave it to the agent, and then she printed me out a special SSSS boarding pass - AA is high tech, and doesn't seem to resort to sharpie pens.

The fun started once I got to the TSA checkpoint. [more...]

Delta, Austin, August 2007, Unsuccessful

Airline: Delta
Airport: Austin, TX
ID Offered: ???
Date: 8/9/2007
Reference: Jack Blood
Reason given: Choice
Result: Not successful, due to airline.
Description: Today I tried to catch a flight from Austin TX to Atlanta GA and was denied by a chubby Chinese Delta airlines supervisor (I will call him Harry Fong) because I didnt have a "Government issued ID" . I have flown many times in the past without ID, but never on Delta who for whatever reason have a non negotiable policy on flying without ID. Fong seemed a bit too happy about the outcome, and his eyes lit up a little to much when saying "Government Issued ID."

Delta, March 2007, Successful

Airline: Delta
Airport: ??
ID Offered: None
Date: March, 2007
Reference: syzygy
Reason given: Choice
Result: Successful, after airline resistance.
Description: Since the flight out was rather smooth through security, I didn’t expect much of a problem on my return flight. Flying Delta this time, the agent at the desk did not want to let me check my bags. She kept insisting that it was federal law for me to show ID and that she can’t let me check bags without it. After arguing with her for about 10 minutes, I demanded to see the supervisor. She left for a minute and, when she came back, printed my tickets and took my checked bags. When handing me my tickets (with SSSS boldly printed), she claimed the only reason they were letting me fly was because this was my returning flight. If that was true, getting on a plane would be as easy as claiming you were returning home. Other than that, getting through security was easy. Again, they bumped me to the front of an, admittedly short, line, and did similar procedures as my first flight. The TSA agent was very nice, did a quick frisk, and a quick look through my bag. He did not swab everything in my bag this time, doing only the zippers on the bag, my cell phone, my shoes, and my laptop.

United Airlines, March, 2007, Successful

Airline: United
Airport: ??
ID Offered: None
Date: March, 2007
Reference: syzygy

Reason given: Choice
Description: the lady at the United desk was quite helpful and didn’t ask any questions about why I did not have ID. She printed me new tickets with bold “SSSS” printed several times on the ticket and told me that I would need to go through extra security. The TSA workers were also quite friendly and did not pose a problem. They bumped me to the front of the line to go through the metal dector machine, and then took me to a side area for a hand search of my carry-on bag. The first thing they did was use a hand metal detector and wand me again, and then did a quick pat down on my arms and legs. A frisk seems quite unecessary to me, and the only saving grace was the fact that the guy didn’t seem to want to do it any more than I did. The agent was very nice and told me exactly what he was going to do beforehand. After the frisk, the TSA agent swabbed all items in my carry-on and ran the swap through a explosive detection machine. Every item was swabbed individually, making this the most time consiming part of the search. The last item that the TSA agent swabbed was my TI-89 calculator, which, unfortunately, set off the explosive detection machine. A simple rerun through the x-ray machine satisified the supervising agent and they sent me on my way. Overall, the first flight security was OK, and took about 10 minutes total.

Continental, Newark, April 2007, Unsuccessful

Airline: Continental
Airport: Newark
ID Offered: None
Date: April 30, 2007
Reference: personal experience
Reason given: Choice
Result: Not successful; airline resistance.
Description: I started by asking Continental to mark my boarding pass as a selectee. Continental refused to mark my boarding pass without some form of ID. The rent-a-cops who check ID refused to let me talk to TSA. Continental Manager had never heard of someone flying without ID. I eventually relented and showed the rent-a-cops my ID so I could fly.