Friday, May 30, 2008

Successfully flew with expired ID from Dallas

Airport: Dallas (DFW)
Date: April, 2008
Reason given: Expired ID
Reference: Erin
Result: Successful
Description: It seems my driver’s license expired this year on my birthday, unbeknownst to me. I am now finally in the habit of leaving the house for domestic flights without even thinking about digging out my passport, which was a necessity anytime I flew anywhere while we lived in Amsterdam. So, armed only with an apparently expired driver’s license to identify myself, the security guard informed me he was going to have to write in huge black letters across my boarding pass “No ID.” Then I had to wait five minutes for a “female assist” to come pat me down, search through my belongings, and exclaim that I certainly don’t look my age and at first she wondered why they would be so up in arms about a high-schooler not having an ID. (For those of you reading who are unaware: it’s been over a decade since I was in high school.)

TSA allows Houston traveller in with no ID, boarding pass after a smoke break

S Kaye Alston reports that a fellow traveler left the terminal for a smoke break, but without an ID or boarding pass. The TSA seems to have let her back in without much trouble:

It was time to jet to the outside elements to burn one. Well, one of the "other" traveling butt head walked right out the door with nothing but her cigarettes!!! No ID, no boarding pass - NOTHING. Try this stunt in a busy airport, and see what happens. The southern charm was whipped out and throunced on "Larry the TSA agent", and the security dance began for her to make it back into the terminal. I have NEVER in my Life been able to gain access to such a secured environment without any form of ID. Thanks Judy for the laugh and adventure to see if we could pull this one off. We did.

TSA advises passenger by phone they need minimal or no ID

Two reports lately indicate that TSA is telling travelers who inquire by phone that they can get by with minimal ID. This is a bit strange, because in my experience, the TSA either wants to see proper ID or no ID at all, and misleading because, of course, you don't need any ID at all. However, it is better than the old days, when TSA seemed even more confused about ID.

Adeline reports that Delta wouldn't give her a boarding pass without an ID, even though she had alternative ID. However, TSA was pretty clear with her over the phone that, as far as they are concerned, they just need a boarding pass. As Adeline found out from the TSA, she doesn't actually need any ID. Delta has strict rules about ID for the sake of thir own revenue control--they don't want you buying someone else's ticket. Of course, this it their right. However, a traveler can check in online and print their boarding pass, or print it at a kiosk. This may mean no checking any bags (depends on the airline). However, once you get that boarding pass, you are free to travel. Even the strictest airlines, like Delta, will usually give you a boarding pass if you can provide them of enough evidence of who you are, so I am surprised they are being so hard line about it. Adeline writes:

So all I had was my BYU ID, and [Delta] didn't accept that because BYU is a private institution so the ID is not issued by the state. The dumb part is that the agent would have issued me a boarding pass if I had a library card. A library card? It has no photo, it is easily stolen, and is easy to get. That really didn't make sense to me. And yes, I did cry at the airport. She still didn't give me that little piece of paper. She did however transfer my flight to tomorrow night, free of charge.
So I went home and stripped my room to look for my license while sitting on hold with Delta Airlines and then TSA for an hour to see what forms of ID I could use to get on the plane tomorrow. Let me preface this by saying that I understand that it is a federal law that they can't give me a boarding pass without proper ID. The problem is that no one knows what proper ID is. This is how the 3 separate phone calls went:
1) The first lady said that I could use my library card and she said that her supervisor told her that he was 80% sure that my International Student Identity Card would pass through an agent, but that I should call TSA to make sure.
2) TSA didn't help me because they said you can pass through security with practically no ID as long as you have a boarding pass. They just do a secondary screening.
3) The third lady (back at Delta) said that I couldn't use my International card and that I couldn't use a library card and that the agent that said I could was just being nice.
So if the agent wasn't "supposed" to let me in with a library card, then why couldn't she just let me in with a BYU photo ID (which is harder to fabricate and cannot be used in someone else's name)?
Epenshade reports that relatives "were in a panic about how she would get home since she had no ID" when a purse was presumed stolen:
As Ty put Elise to bed, I pulled up the TSA phone number and called them to see how she could get home. They were very kind, and told me with a police report she could fly, but she would be subject to additional screening. When I called her back to tell her this, she seemed a little calmer.
Why is TSA saying they require a police report to fly without ID?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

TSA defers to Delta at DFW: Consumerist Thread on Flying without ID

The Consumerist has a thread on flying without ID. Unfortunately, their answer isn't very helpful--basically they advise that even though ID isn't necessary--run out GET ID as soon as possible anyway. Some of the commenters share interesting experiences about flying without ID. Unfortunately, the experiences described don't have any date information, so they won't be posted here directly. There is one particularly relevant post TSA deferred to Delta airlines on deciding about ID. This seems recent because TSA was in fact checking the IDs at the time, and let the passenger fly as a selectee on the originating flight. This is disturbing because it suggests that TSA is enforcing corporate policies, rather than the law (secret or not). The Delta rep also threatens that the flyer will be put on a list:

At the sceurity screening in Charlottesville, Virginia, I realized that I'd left my driver's license at home. "No problem," said the kindly TSA ID-checker. "You can travel without a driver's license. You'll just be a selectee."

With that he wrote "SSS" on my boarding pass, and when I went through I was taken aside for the extra-special treatment: full wanding, luggage dump, jokes about having to confiscate my doughnut.

They couldn't have been nicer.

On the way back, however, in Dallas, the TSA ID-checker sent me to the Delta counter, where the Delta representative told me that I couldn't possibly fly without an ID. "I don't care what they told you in Charlottesville. Looks like you'll be taking the bus home."

Eventually, an even nastier Delta supervisor decided to let me travel. "But you'll be on a list from now on." He wouldn't tell me what kind of list, and I decided not to press my luck.

Curiously, the authority that made the decision as to whether or not I could fly apeared to rest with the Delta supervisor, and not the TSA screeners.

KCTV Channel 5 Cites Right To Fly Without ID, Is Subjected to Investigation, Questions Secret Laws

from KCTV (Kansas City Channel 5 News)
The Transportation Security Administration investigated KCTV5 News for exposing what some experts called a serious flaw in airline security.Last year, KCTV5 News was able to board flights to Washington and Chicago using IDs the station created.Document checkers at Kansas City International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport glossed over the homemade ID.One airline screener couldn't tell if the ID was real or not, but he let an undercover producer through anyway, and the producer headed off to Washington.

Since then, the TSA took over document checking at KCI.So earlier this year, KCTV5 News decided to try to fly again with the homemade ID.That time, a TSA screener questioned the undercover producer and said he had to have a government-issued ID to fly.Technically, that's not true.

On the TSA's Web site, the policy "recommends" that ID be carried, but there's never been a public law requiring it, and after a secondary screening, the undercover producer was able to catch a flight to Chicago and back.A month later, the president and CEO of KCTV5's parent company received a letter from the TSA informing the company that KCTV5 was being investigated for using "homemade photo identification" in an attempt to "circumvent required additional security measures and procedures."It's an accusation attorney Jim Harrison finds especially interesting given there is no rule requiring any ID whatsoever to board a plane."TSA is not necessarily looking for weapons or explosives. They're using our transportation network as a dragnet for law enforcement," Harrison.Harrison argued a lawsuit against the government that would have forced it to reveal the source of the so-called ID requirement, but that lawsuit was dismissed -- in part, Harrison said, because the regulation requiring ID is shrouded in secrecy."They designated it SSI, or sensitive security information, and said the release of which would be detrimental to the safety of transportation," Harrison said.

According to court documents, the details of the SSI shall only be disclosed on a "need to know" basis.In effect, TSA is saying people are required to abide by laws but people aren't allowed to know what those laws are."One of the problems is that TSA's own security personnel don't understand what the law is because the law seems to be so secret that TSA will keep it from their employees," Harrison said.

In fact, many people don't realize the origin of the so-call ID requirement didn't follow a terrorist attack.In 1996, 230 passengers were killed when TWA Flight 800 exploded midair.On July 18, 1996, then-President Bill Clinton said, "While we seek the cause of the disaster, let us all agree that we must not wait to alleviate the concerns of the American people about air safety and air security."To address those concerns, according to former counter-terrorism adviser Richard Clarke, new airline security measures were introduced by the Clinton administration, and the so-called requirement to present "government-issued photo ID" became a staple at U.S. airports.

More than 10 years later, the TSA says security personnel are required to request ID but government ID is not required to fly."The best form of Homeland Security is liberty and for the people to exercise that liberty, and when you start curtailing that liberty in the hopes of providing more security, then you're just asking for trouble," Harrison said.Late Wednesday afternoon, the TSA sent KCTV5 News a statement calling the station's investigation "irresponsible" and a "disservice to passengers." Nevertheless, KCTV5 News was told that the TSA completed its investigation and decided not to take action against KCTV5 for the story.The TSA said new regulations are expected to go into effect later this year.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Secret Law and the Threat to Democratic and Accountable Government

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution took testimony from from IDP Director Jim Harrison on “Secret Law and the Threat to Democratic and Accountable Government”. Following is his submitted written testimony. It is definately worth a careful read, because it lays out the central issues behind the secret law which regulates travel identification.

Statement of James Harrison
before the Subcommittee on the Constitution Committee on the Judiciary United States Senate
Hearing on “Secret Law and the Threat to Democratic and Accountable Government”
April 30, 2008

Thank you for the opportunity to address the Subcommittee.

My name is James P. Harrison. I am a private attorney and also director of the Identity Project (IDP), , which provides advice, assistance, publicity, and legal defense to those who find their rights infringed, or their legitimate activities curtailed, by demands for identification, and builds public awareness about the effects of ID requirements on fundamental rights.

IDP is a program of the First Amendment Project, a nonprofit organization providing legal and educational resources dedicated to protecting and promoting First Amendment rights.

As a private attorney, I represented John Gilmore in Gilmore v. Gonzales, a recent federal case that extensively examined the issue of secret administrative law involving identification requirements for domestic air transportation.


Among the many categories of secret law addressed by the Subcommittee are secret transportation security directives issued by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The specific security directive addressed here is that which involves a passenger’s presentation of identification (ID) to travel domestically by commercial air carrier.

While the rule that “Passengers Must Show Identification” is printed on TSA posters prominently displayed about security screening checkpoints in airports, TSA refuses to release the actual written rule that requires passengers to produce identification because it designates the rule itself as part of a control category of information known as “Sensitive Security Information.”

The secrecy surrounding this specific security directive, which has the force and effect of a law, broadly illustrates the dangers inherent in secret law. It is important to make absolutely clear at the outset that the specific security directive at issue here does not involve the training procedures of TSA employees, or the manner in which any aviation security procedure is conducted by the TSA. What is at issue here is the federal requirement imposed directly by federal employees upon domestic air transportation passengers indicating that they must show their ID to fly, which it turns out is actually not the case.

As a result of the secrecy surrounding this law, the public remains misinformed about TSA’s identification requirements. This public confusion has now broadened to include the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’) misinformation that the federal penalties imposed upon the citizens of states that decide not to comply with REAL ID results in their inability to travel by air.

Further, not being able to actually read the law that requires ID to fly renders it largely unchallengeable in a court of law by those upon who it is arbitrarily enforced, and legislatively unreviewable by their representatives. It appears that this is a result of deliberate choice and official policy on the part of DHS.

Accepting, or even turning a blind eye to, this secret law invites the public to become accustomed to something antithetical to our systems of justice and liberty.

I invite this Subcommittee to recognize and publicly decree this example of secret law for what it is, an abomination.

The Specific Law at Issue

Various statutory provisions govern airport security screening. The Under Secretary of Transportation is directed to provide for the screening of all passengers and property. 49 U.S.C. 44901(a). In addition, the Under Secretary must direct airlines to refuse to transport a passenger who does not consent to a search establishing whether the passenger is carrying nlawfully a dangerous weapon, explosive or other destructive substance.
Id. § 44902(a).

Neither of these statutes mentions passenger identification.

Congress has generally forbidden the use of secret law. However, there are narrowly tailored exceptions to the requirement of disclosure. 49 U.S.C. 114(s) provides that notwithstanding FOIA, TSA is authorized, upon making particular findings, to prescribe regulations prohibiting the disclosure of information obtained or developed in carrying out security under authority of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act or under chapter 449 of this title.

These findings include a required administrative determination that disclosure is inappropriate for specified reasons, principally because it would be detrimental to the security of transportation.

TSA’s implementing regulations address “Sensitive Security Information” (SSI) that the agency will refuse to disclose pursuant to the just-cited statutory provisions.

The regulations define SSI to include, for example, all threat information, security measures, and security screening information. 49 C.F.R. 1520.5(b)(7)-(9). But the regulations go further to define as SSI “[a]ny Security Directive or order” issued under relevant regulatory provisions, together with “[a]ny comments, instructions, and implementing guidance pertaining thereto.” Id. §1520.5(b)(2).

A Security Directive is the document setting forth mandatory measures that airports and TSA personnel must follow in conducting airport screening. Id. §1542.303(a).

Every Security Directive or Information Circular, and information contained in either document, is forbidden to be disclosed to persons other than those who have an operational need to know. Id. §1542.303(f)(2).

At issue here is the TSA requirement that all passengers show identification before they are permitted to board a domestic commercial airline flight in the United States.

The government categorically refuses to make public the document that imposes this legal obligation on commercial airline passengers as it has determined it to be SSI.

The secrecy surrounding this directive is quite unusual in two respects.

First, although the document itself is withheld from public disclosure, its requirements are disclosed every day to millions of people, who are advised that they must show identification.

Thus, the government’s secrecy does not involve keeping sensitive information non-public.

What is at stake is instead the government’s refusal to prove that what it claims is the law is, in fact, required. Second, and relatedly, it appears that the directive or implementing guidance purposefully or inadvertently causes transportation security officials to mislead the public.

DHS’ Admission of Misinformation

Passengers are consistently advised that federal law requires them to show identification.

That representation is false, however. There is another option.

Passengers in reality can generally travel even without showing “proper” identification so long as they undergo a more extensive security screening.

The government s secrecy here in refusing to disclose the actual directive thus has the effect of misinforming the public of what the law actually requires.

During the pleadings phase of Gilmore v. Gonzales before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the government defendants asserted that Mr. Gilmore’s various rights were not violated by the identification requirement in part because he had the option for a “heightened” level of physical search instead.

After being pressed on this issue during oral argument, defendants were ordered by the Court to file under seal for its ex parte and in camera examination.

In its ruling, the Court referred to its examination of the security directive. “As noted, we have reviewed in camera the materials submitted by the Government under seal, and we have determined that the TSA Security Directive is final within the meaning of § 46110(a).

The Security Directive “imposes an obligation” by requiring airline passengers to present identification or be a “selectee,” and by requiring airport security personnel to carry out the policy.” 435 F.3d 1125, 1148 (9th Cir. 2006).

In part based upon the availability of the “selectee” option, the Court found that Mr. Gilmore’s rights were not unconstitutionally violated by the identification requirement.

A writ of certiorari was filed with the Supreme Court focused singularly on the issue of secret law. Despite the filing of multiple amicus briefs, and the importance of the issue, the Supreme Court denied the writ of certiorari.2

Despite this admission of misinformation by TSA, the signs at the airports still say identification is required to fly.

One of the major problems with Secret Law is that it is impossible to tell when the law has changed.

Since the Appellate Court’s examination of the security directive in the Gilmore case, we have not until recently been able to confirm the law regarding identification to fly had not been altered.

In a letter dated March 22, 2008, a DHS official confirmed in writing to a private citizen that the law had not changed.
Gilmore v. Gonzales 435 F.3d 1125 (9th Cir. 2006) is available at

2 The separate Supreme Court amicus briefs filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF); the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC); and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the American Society of Newspapers Editors are available at ttp://

3 This letter caught the attention of the media and resulted in a number of newspaper articles including that printed on April 8, 2008, in the Kansas City Star: “Although airport security tells passengers they must show ID to board planes, they really don’t”; on April 14, 2008, in the Seattle Times: “If truth be told, you don’t always need ID for domestic flights”; and on April 20, 2008, in the Arizona Star: “You can fly without ID, but a hassle will accompany you.”

4 Despite these recent admissions by DHS that ID is not actually required to fly domestically, there is no way of knowing whether this secret law has been changed since then, thereby making the federal government’s signs posted at our airports truthful.

This Misinformation Spreads into the National REAL ID Debate

Despite the above statements that ID is not required to fly domestically in the United States, the TSA, in its recent issuance of Final Rules pertaining to the Real ID Act, leads the public, and the state governments that may refuse to comply with the Act, to the opposite conclusion.

Beginning on page six of the final rules, it reads:


A. Statutory Authority and Regulatory History

This final rule establishes minimum standards for State-issued drivers’ licenses and identification cards that Federal agencies can accept for official purposes on or after May 11, 2008, as required under the REAL ID Act of 2005. See, Public Law 109- 13, 119 Stat. 231, 302 (May 11,2005) (codified at 49 U.S.C. 30301 note) (the Act).

3 See

4 See

During the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, all but one of the terrorist hijackers acquired some form of identification

document, some by fraud, and used these forms of identification to assist them in boarding commercial flights, renting cars, and other necessary activities leading up to the attacks. See THE 911 COMMISSION REPORT, FINAL REPORT OF THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TERRORIST ATTACKS ON THE UNITED STATES (July 2004) (911 Commission Report), p. 390.

The 911 Commission recommended implementing more secure sources of identification for use in, among other activities, boarding aircraft and accessing vulnerable facilities.

In its report, the Commission stated Secure Identification should begin in the United States.

The federal government should set standards for the issuance of birth certificates and sources of identification, such as drivers’ licenses. Fraud in identification documents is no longer just a problem of theft.

At many entry points to vulnerable facilities, including gates for boarding aircraft, sources of identification are the last opportunity to ensure that people are who they say they are and to check whether they are terrorists. Id. at 390.

Congress enacted the Act in May 2005, in response to the 911
Commission’s recommendations.

Under the Act, Federal agencies are prohibited, effective May 11, 2008, from accepting a driver’s license or a State-issued personal identification card for an official purpose unless the issuing State is meeting the requirements of the Act.

“Official purpose” is defined under §201 of the Act to include access to Federal facilities, boarding Federally-regulated commercial aircraft, entry into nuclear power plants, and such other purposes as established by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Undoubtedly, the most significant impact on the public of this statutory mandate is that, effective May 11, 2008, citizens of States that have not been determined by DHS to be in compliance with the mandatory minimum requirements set forth in the REAL ID Act may not use their State-issued drivers’ licenses or identification cards to pass through security at airports. Citizens in this category will likely encounter significant travel delays.

This inconsistency did not go unnoticed.

In South Carolina’s Governor Mark Sanford’s scathing letter of March 31, 2008 to Secretary Chertoff, in which he asked that the citizens of South Carolina not be punished by DHS for their state’s deciding not to comply with Real ID, he specifically raised the point that ID is not actually required to fly.

5 On the final page of his letter he alludes to the Ninth Circuit’s Gilmore decision and the current ability to fly without ID.

In this instance, the serious aspect that a secret law prevents an informed legislative examination of the law presents itself.

Without Gilmore bringing suit and forcing disclosure of the law, albeit
through an
in camera review and the resulting secondary description of it by a Federal Appellate Court, Governor Sanford may not have been aware of the content of this secret law.

While Real ID now seems to have been passed to next administration to resolve, this important example of secret law remains and will continue to cause confusion and stymie an informed national debate on the Act.


Permitting the government to enforce a secret law invites abuse and confusion in its application. It permits the government to misrepresent the contents of the law to suit its purposes (whatever they may be at the time) and to inappropriately hide provisions that it may not want known.

It also deprives the public of the ability to monitor agency compliance regarding enforcement of the law (for example, to ensure that the law is not enforced in a discriminatory manner).

The very problems with the secrecy challenged by here are highlighted by the Government’s own inconsistent statements about the directive.

Airport personnel themselves do not seem to know the standards that they are expected to enforce.

The rule of law protects us from unbridled governmental authority and defends liberty.

It continues to be said that our best form of homeland security is liberty. DHS’ willingness to stray from the rule of law here, in an attempt to attain some perceived greater security, is something deserving this Subcommittee’s continued attention.

5 See

Lost ID, but no problems flying from SFO

Airport: San Francisco (SFO)
Date: March 14, 2008
Reason given: Lost ID
Reference: Molly Oliver
Result: Successful
Description: So, a little spacey quality snuck in as I was travelling last weekend and I mislaid my photo ID in SF airport. It is also much easier to get on a plane without identification than one would be led to believe. I do think I actually made it through security a little quicker with out, although I had to suffer the humiliation of being shunted into this little cattle corral thing for a bit, stay extra long in the air-puffer chamber and then have some nice young girl wipe down my shoes, phone and the entire inside of my bag with what looked like an oversized Stridex pad. I am so glad that the TSA is keeping us safe.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Although airport security tells passengers they must show ID to board planes, they really don’t

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Flying across the country? Leave your pocketknife in the car. Don't carry more than a few ounces of liquids onto the plane. And don't forget that ID.
Wait? ID? Turns out we don't need no stinking ID.
Sure enough, leaving it behind will buy you hassle. It will probably annoy those in line behind you as the bottleneck of security slows from crawl to standstill. And it means you're in for a thorough frisking and a greater likelihood that the possessions you've dragged along on your journey will be tested for traces of explosives.
But the Transportation Security Administration concedes you should still be able to board that plane.
Consider the travels of Phillip Mocek, a Seattle software developer. A few years ago he read about a court case challenging various U.S. travel rules and decided he didn't like the idea of having to prove his identity to board a jet.
"I object to what I see as the federal government making a requirement for me to travel around my own country," Mocek said. "So I started testing the system."
Two or three years ago — he can't recall exactly when he started — Mocek headed out on trips with his driver's license planted firmly out of view. ("I still carried it with me. My need to get places, if necessary, would have overridden my desire to flex my rights.")
And time and again, he got where he wanted to go. He'd arrive at an airport with his boarding pass already printed and head to the security check.
"I would say, 'I don't have any ID to show you.' I very clearly did not want to lie, but I did not want to anger somebody by saying, 'I don't want to show you my ID,"' Mocek said, conceding he was parsing words.
Each time he would be subject to extra clearance — "I understand that's the way it is now" — but he always got cleared to fly.
After a visit last month to see family, he went to Kansas City International Airport to catch his flight back to Seattle.
To his thinking, the questions from the private security detail at the facilities' far-flung gates seemed more intrusive than he'd experienced elsewhere. He thought that being sent back to the airline counter for another boarding pass was unnecessary. But in the end, with the usual extra frisking, he flew without pulling out his ID.
Still, he was particularly annoyed at signs at the airport declaring that a government ID was required to fly. So when he returned home, he logged on to the TSA Web site and posted a complaint.
Eventually, a TSA official wrote back.
"TSA requires travelers to produce a valid form of government-issued ID to verify that the name on the travel document matches the ID," the response said.
But then it went on in seeming contradiction: "If a traveler is unwilling or unable to produce a valid form of ID, the traveler is required to undergo additional screening at the checkpoint to gain access to the secured area of the airport."
So an ID is required, except that it's not.
"If you have an ID," TSA spokeswoman Andrea McCauley said in an interview, "we highly encourage that you use that ID, because it speeds up the process not only for you but for anybody behind you in line."
But allowances are made for the ID-free, she said, "because we have to put something in place for people who are on a trip and lose their ID."
That said, the agency's specific policy remains officially secret.
Even without an ID, McCauley said, such passengers should not pose an extra security threat. Their names are still cross-checked against the federal no-fly list of potential terrorists. Their baggage, like every other passenger's, is electronically screened, and the travelers are searched more thoroughly than most people with ID.

Successfully flew after losing ID, SAN

Airport: San Diego (SAN)
Date: March 13, 2008
Reason given: Lost ID
Reference: Tim Ferriss
Result: Successful
My wallet was stolen at ETech in San Diego 3 hours before my flight was scheduled to leave for Austin, TX. Panic set in, as I had to be on a panel the following afternoon, but I learned of a few work-arounds.
Here’s what I did, first from the hotel:

1. I took the clever Brady Forrest’s advice and printed out a little-known (outside of techies) letter from the TSA, written to Senator John Warner, that outlines protocol for flying without ID. If the airport check-in staff or security stop you, this letter and requesting a supervisor is often enough to get you onboard.

2. I used my flight number and name to print out my boarding passes from the hotel kiosk. I wouldn’t be able to use them ultimately, but it would be helpful to prove identify.

3. I borrowed $100 from two friends for taxis, etc., and promised to immediately reimburse them through PayPal, which I could use as currency in place of my stolen credit cards and cash.

At the airport:
1. Told them very casually “Oh, by the way, I’m flying without ID today because my wallet was stolen.” They gave their condolences and marked my boarding pass for additional screening with “SSS” in bright red block letters. I checked one bag and never had to show the TSA letter.

2. Because you are now a bigger security risk, they put you in your own line! The key is to put as much in checked luggage as possible, as they will swab everything in your carry-on for explosive residue and do a quick pat down.

3. After clearing security in record time, I called the San Diego harbor police using 1-800-GOOG-411 on my cell to file a police report with an officer at the airport, which took about 10 minutes.

The officer then called up my CA driver’s license number and put it on a temporary ID card that I could use to drive (and also get served alcohol when used in combination with an old student picture ID from Berlin). Filing the police report is also important for filing claims with banks, credit cards, etc. to be reimbursed for any fraudulent charges.

I had the student ID in a second wallet where I put cards, memberships, etc. that I use infrequently, so I don’t clog up my ultra-slim wallet. This back-up wallet is stored in my backpack.

4. Used wi-fi at the terminal to cancel my cards and get replacements overnighted to a friend’s place in Austin.

The End Result — Faster without ID!

I cleared security in 5 minutes, where it took others AHEAD of me in line with ID 15-20 minutes.

I was upset that that my FlyClear biometric card had been stolen, expecting to be delayed, but perhaps the cheaper solution and equally effective time saver is to “lose” your license, or simply keep it in the wallet and tell them you’re traveling without ID.

I’ll be testing this on my return trip as well.

Just another reminder to question what you “have to” do. Oftentimes the forbidden opposite is the best solution.

Successfully flew without ID, but with intense search at ISP

Airport: Long Island Islip MacArthur (ISP)
Date: March 3, 2008
Reason given: Want to fly without ID, as a selectee
Reference: personal
Airline: Southwest
Result: Successful
Description: ISP is a small airport. When I told the ID checking TSA agent that I wanted to fly without ID as a selectee. He had directed me into a little gated area, then had to leave his post while everyone else waited and go get someone to help me. The man who took me really wasn't sure what to do, and asked me a few questions while looking at my carryon. Finally, the manager came over and asked me questions about why I wanted to fly without ID, in a rather adversarial tone. I told him that I believed it was my right to fly without my ID being checked by the federal government, and suddenly his tone changed and he seemed okay with it.
However, I then received the most horrendous SSSS search I have ever been through. Agents started yelling "selectee!" My various items were marked with red tape. Each item (carryon, backpack, camera, laptop) was investigated by a different agent, in the most tedious process I have seen. I was patted down and wanded by an agent in an extensive process. The wand picked up a gum wrapper in my pocket, and also my wallet. The agent insisted on putting my wallet through the metal detector. I told him that I wasn't comfortable being separated from my wallet, he walked away with it telling me to watch him while he walked back through the metal detector and put it through. I waited for the rest of my items to be screened, and then gathered them and went on my way.
This is by far the most extensive search and intense questioning I have been subjected to when traveling without ID.

Unsuccesful at MDW, TSA suggests I lie instead to fly without ID

Airport: Chicago Midway (MDW)
Date: February 28, 2008
Reason given: want to fly as a selectee, without ID
Reference: personal
Airline: Southwest
Result: Unsuccessful
Description: I told the TSA ID checker that I was flying without ID as a selectee. She told me I couldn't designate myself as a selectee, and handed me over to another agent who asked me if I had ID, and I told him politely I was flying without ID as a selectee. He said I couldn't fly without ID, that it was a security measure, and that they were protecting me . I mumbled something about the supreme court saying it was okay. He left and went and got a third agent, who told me that there was no I way I was getting on a plane or past that point without showing my ID. I quickly said, "yes sir, I'm sorry sir", showed him my ID, which he looked at, and then he sent me on my way.
After the metal detector, I went up to the TSA desk and asked to file a complaint. The TSA agent there got someone who seemed to be the manager, who gave me the form and asked what the problem was. I told him that I had tried to fly without ID, but had been denied. He agreed that I should have been able to fly without ID, but told me that if I had used different "verbage" I wouldn't have had a problem. After I questioned him on this further, I realized that he was implying that I should have told the agent that I lost my ID. and I told him that I certainly wasn't going to lie. He agreed that it seemed like a training issue, and I suggested he give his agents more careful training.