New Travel Regulations In Effect for Thanksgiving Travel

Posted on November 21, 2009

Thanksgiving travel will be especially onerous this year because of new fees and increased security regulations on flights. The Wall Street Journal reports on the new rules. One rule that many people don't even know about is that the TSA is requiring that passengers book tickets in the exact same name as their drivers license, and that they give their birth date and gender ahead of time when they purchase their tickets.
Security screening may be bumpier for some travelers. That's because the Transportation Security Administration is phasing in a new policy that requires the name on your boarding pass to match exactly the name on your ID. If not, you may face some questions. Also, screeners will be looking more closely at any powders in your bag.


The biggest changes are occurring at security checkpoints. TSA has been instructing travelers to book tickets using their full legal names, plus birth dates and gender, as part of a "Secure Flight" program to better utilize terrorist watch and warning lists. The hope is that more information will cut down on "false positive" red flags and keep people from unnecessary extra screening, and at the same time make it harder for bad guys to slip through. Some travelers have now had to update frequent-flier program records at airlines to book reservations under full legal names, rather than using middle names or initials.

The program is still being phased in, and some airlines are ahead of others at collecting all the information. TSA says that for the holiday season, travelers will still be able to fly if their boarding pass doesn't exactly match their ID--either a driver's license or passport. But they will be asked for more information.

"We allow for slight variations between the boarding pass and a passenger's ID, such as small differences with the middle name and initial, hyphens, longer names, et cetera," said TSA spokeswoman Sterling Payne. "The message we want to make sure everybody understands is don't be concerned, as you should not be inconvenienced."
If you take any kind of powder in your carry-on luggage, it will be subject to extra scrutiny, and cosmetics are subject to being sampled to make sure they can't be used to make explosives.

To make things even more fun, there are fewer airline employees to help out when things go awry and flights are expected to be jam packed.