Airline passengers facing stricter security rules

Posted November 1, 2010

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— Airport security got a little more personal Monday as new federal rules went into effect that will affect every airline passenger. The changes have been rolled out over the past several months.

At Raleigh-Durham International Airport’s Terminal 2, Matthew Sherman knows the security routine by now.

“I fly about once a month, so I’m used to it,” he said.

But beginning Monday, Sherman and every other airline passenger has to provide some extra information before they get on board. It's a new Transportation Security Administration program called “Secure Flight.”

The program is a behind-the-scenes effort by the TSA to better match potential terrorists with watch lists. It requires airlines to collect a passenger’s full name, birth date and gender at booking. Passengers who don’t provide that information at least 72 hours before a flight won’t be issued a boarding pass.

“When passengers book their flight, they provide this information to the TSA, who then checks that against their no-fly list,” said RDU spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin.

Airport security, TSA generic Airline passengers facing stricter security rules

Most airlines have been collecting the data for several months, so passengers who bought a ticket in the past year should be fine. But they should check their reservations to make sure the airline has the extra information.

“If they did not provide that information, they can contact the airline now and then provide that information, or they can do it when they get to the ticket counter,” Hamlin said.

Here are some suggestions to ensure you’re not denied a boarding pass or held up at security:

  • Check for misspellings on your ticket. Contact the airline if you find an error.
  • Don’t use nicknames when booking. Using “Maggie” instead of “Margaret” might hold you up.
  • If you recently got married or changed your name, book your flight under the same name that’s listed on your driver’s license or passport.
  • Pay attention to detail: If your name is listed as “John C. Doe” on your ID, don’t fill out “John Christopher Doe” when you book. A discrepancy like that will probably be resolved, but even the smallest difference could lead a security agent at the airport to do a double-take, slowing you down.

The TSA estimates that only about 1 percent of travelers won’t make it through security because of a discrepancy, TSA spokesman Nick Kimball says.

There’s another change to TSA rules. If a passenger sets off an alarm in security or refuses to go through the full-body scanner, they’ll get a pat-down from a TSA screener – a new, more aggressive pat-down that involves them sliding their hands around the passenger’s body.

Not everyone is OK with the new pat-down procedures. The American Civil Liberties Union has complained, saying the new method is too invasive. The group is collecting complaints from passengers.


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  • chach Nov 3, 2010

    It's crazy, I'm waiting for them to ask me to bend over and cough. Maybe they can give you a physical at the same time & kill 2 birds with one stone. We can't live like this. Maybe they should put an officer on the plane & make it that you can't get out of your seat without an escort to the bathrooms or something. Anything is better then how they have it now, I feel like I'm in a hostile country, It shouldn't have to be like this.

  • John Sawtooth Nov 2, 2010

    Kermit, it's really just a few extra lines of very basic info you fill in when making a reservation. Once it's entered, you don't need to keep entering it every time. It wouldn't be a problem for a last minute change.

  • KermitDFrog Nov 2, 2010

    How do they plan to handle business travelers, whose plans may change day-to-day? This sounds like a giant mess...

  • pat7 Nov 2, 2010

    Well we can all thank The morrons of 9/11 . I dont mind the Extra security because we should of done this a long time ago.

  • John Sawtooth Nov 2, 2010

    I flew to Hong Kong recently. What struck me as significant were two things -

    1. outbound Customs in HK hand-searched EVERY carry-on item in complete detail. Their security metal detectors picked up foil from a trinket in my pocket.

    2. the Chinese officers were exquisitely polite and explained everything thoroughly. They could not have been more courteous.

    I'm a diabetic (type 1, "needle or death" diabetes) and carry a big sack of meds - less hassle in China than in the US. :-/

  • OpenM1nd Nov 2, 2010

    Oh, that's all? I figured that the only thing left that's more strict than what's already there is a cavity search of every passenger. But I wouldn't want to give them any ideas.

  • mpheels Nov 2, 2010

    "If the terrorists wanted to kill people, they could easily."

    And that is the plain truth. Unfortunately, most people have their heads in the sand, and feel better when they see security theater. Remember when the guy set his SUV on fire and drove it into the Glasgow airport? That caused just as much disruption and "terror" as a bomb on a plane, had the potential to cause as many casualties as a bomb, and there isn't much a scan and screen system could ever do to stop it. When you are dealing with people who don't care if they die in the process of hurting others, it takes more than scanners and pat downs to stop them.

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Nov 2, 2010

    I'm not complaining about the new measures. I'm laughing at all of you who are so important that the only way you can get there is to go through that garbage. Enjoy, I'll be driving or stay home and have since 9/11.

  • justcommonsense Nov 1, 2010

    I do agree that it is stupid that freight is not scanned as thoroughly as passengers. Freight is more the life-blood of airlines or at least as much as passenger fares.

  • mikeyj Nov 1, 2010

    Gotta come in here guys. THIS is just sheer st--idity at it's finest. This now after the weekend where in black and white WRAL goes forth to say a large portion of freight is flown on passenger designated aircraft. THEN, THEN they also say that the freight shipping is not scanned as thuroughly as checked baggage of passengers. STPID STPID STPID