Air travelers now must show ID to clear checkpoint

D/FW AIRPORT — Every once in a while an air traveler will refuse to show identification at security checkpoints arguing that the government doesn’t have the right to ask to "see one’s papers."

Well, starting today, any passengers who willfully refuse to show identification won’t be allowed through the checkpoints.

"They’re refusing to comply with the security processes," said Andrea McCauley, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration.

What if I lost my ID?

On average, about 300 airline passengers a day go through airport security nationwide without identification.

They lost it.

It was stolen.

They forgot and left it at home.

All are legitimate reasons, say officials with the TSA, and with some extra screening they’ll be fine.

Are there privacy concerns?

Some privacy advocates worry that this may be another step toward Americans having to carry documentation for any sort of travel.

In addition, smaller programs like this, applicable to just a few people, can be seen as precursors to more widespread federal programs such as REAL ID.

What is REAL ID?

Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005, and it went into effect May 11. It is intended to make it more difficult to acquire a fake driver’s license or ID card and was endorsed by the 9/11 Commission as a way to fight terrorism. States are required to overhaul driver’s licenses and ID cards, which will likely cost tens of millions of dollars, and encode them with hard-to-fake data on the face of the card, such as:

information and security features to prevent fraud;

proof of identity and U.S. citizenship or legal status;

verification of the source documents for personal information;

security measures by the offices that issue licenses and identification cards.

Texas and other states have gained extensions for implementing REAL ID, so a current driver’s license is still acceptable as a form of ID for boarding federally regulated airplanes, or accessing federal facilities or nuclear power plants. For more information, go to and search for REAL ID.

On Friday, the DHS announced $80 million in state grants to push REAL ID forward. Texas received $3.2 million.

Am I excluded from REAL ID if I’m an undocumented immigrant?

It looks that way. States must verify an applicant’s lawful status in the U.S. before issuing a REAL ID license or card. (The REAL ID Act does not prohibit a state from issuing noncompliant driver’s licenses and state identification. Those, however, cannot be accepted by federal agencies for official purposes, including boarding commercial aircraft, and must be clearly marked as not acceptable for federal purposes.)

BRYON OKADA, 817-390-7752

Join AFGE Today


Shutdown Lawsuit

Diversity Week

I Serve Veterans

Behind the Scenes

AFGE Events

Event Calendar is for Members Only. Please Log In to see our calendar of events.


SUBSCRIBE Latest news & info