Flying Without ID

According to the TSA, in the 9th Circuit Case of John Gilmore, you are allowed to fly without showing ID—you’ll just have to submit yourself to secondary screening.

The Identity Project wants you to try it out. If you have time, try to fly without showing ID.

Mr. Gilmore recommends that every traveler who is concerned with privacy or anonymity should opt to become a “selectee” rather than show an ID. We are very likely to lose the right to travel anonymously, if citizens do not exercise it. TSA and the airlines will attempt to make it inconvenient for you, by wasting your time and hassling you, but they can’t do much in that regard without compromising their avowed missions, which are to transport paying passengers, and to keep weapons off planes. If you never served in the armed services, this is a much easier way to spend some time keeping your society free. (Bring a copy of the court decision with you and point out some of the numerous places it says you can fly as a selectee rather than show ID. Paper tickets are also helpful, though not required.)

I’m curious what the results are.

EDITED TO ADD (11/25): Here’s someone who tried, and failed.

Posted on March 10, 2006 at 7:20 AM88 Comments


Oren March 10, 2006 7:57 AM

Yeah, go to the airport and submit get felt up by government agents who also go through your belongings. Let freedom ring.

I’m sorry, but being physically searched is far worse than flashing a fake ID.

Oren March 10, 2006 8:04 AM

Also, I wonder what will happen to this futile last act of resistance against internal travel passports when the RealID act becomes active in 2008.

Swiss Connection March 10, 2006 8:38 AM

“According to the TSA, in the 9th Circuit Case of John Gilmore, you are allowed to fly without showing ID — you’ll just have to submit yourself to secondary screening.”

Does anyone have a link to verify this statement?

The Gilmore case:

got thrown out of court, so the “Identity Project” wants volunteers to retest similar cases before court. Right?

Simple Nomad March 10, 2006 8:44 AM

I’ve done this, as well as a good friend of mine — traveling without an ID. I haven’t read the court ruling, but the TSA personnel told me the “procedure” was in place because when people travel and juggle a bunch of luggage and personal items they lose wallets and purses every once in a while, or legitimately arrive at the airport with the wallet on the dresser at home. It makes sense too when you think about it — why not let someone through a security checkpoint as long as they are not carrying weapons? And if they have no weapons, why do you need an ID? All an ID does in this case is match up with your boarding pass anyway, and speed you up going through. It is a warm fuzzy for the sheeple, and not real security. It serves the airlines’ needs of making sure that Bob didn’t sell his ticket to Alice and potentially robbing the airline of a few bucks. A fake ID that happens to match the fake boarding pass you printed on your home printer WILL get you through a security checkpoint at an airport, something any self-respecting terrorist I’m sure already knows.

Ed T. March 10, 2006 8:45 AM

Yeah, and don’t forget that the opinions of the 9th Circuit only apply to their area of jurisdiction — namely, the West Coast, I think AK and HI as well as Guam, and maybe NV and a few other western states.

Oh, and remember, that in NV it has been ruled that you must show ID when requested by law enforcement — which means you don’t have to show it to the TSA screener, but when they motion for the cop to come over, if you don’t show him your photo id… it’s TASER TIME!!!


meme March 10, 2006 8:57 AM

I’ve been a “selectee” several times… sometimes randomly chosen in advance, sometimes chosen on the spot because (as the TSA screener told me something along these lines…), “they’re supposed to do that for people who have cargo pockets” that are obviously full but don’t ring the metal detector–I usually stash papers and plastic items in my pockets when I fly. Being a “selectee” isn’t even special anymore and it really doesn’t take a whole lot longer for them to wave their little wand around and give you a pat down. The only difference I noted in the legal opinion was a physical search of your carry-on items, which I have never had during my several travels as a “selectee”.

Cargo Coat March 10, 2006 9:07 AM

I don’t know if this would help, but even in the late 1990’s, I would travel with my Gortex coat – big zipper pockets. Once in the airport, I would transfer the majority of pocket stuff to the coat, including keys and coin. The majority of the time, all my on-body pockets were empty.

When passing through security — international, most of the time, flying trans-Canada-US — I would put the coat through x-ray with the carry-on. Not once did I trigger a sensor gate. There wasn’t much in terms of pat-downs anywhere, but if I had, I expect it would have only needed to be minimal at best. I always carried my boarding pass through security in my hand.

Fly without ID if you wish – but it can’t hurt to make it easier for staff to do that actual job that is assigned.

Peter March 10, 2006 9:19 AM

I’ll never forget a time back in the late 70s-early 80s when my father took a chainsaw on an airplane. He was returning it to a friend who had moved and they let him carry it right in the cabin.
My how times have changed.

john March 10, 2006 9:25 AM

Airlines would require ID no matter what the security situation. They don’t like the idea of ticket scalpers selling super saver fares out front of the terminal.

Don March 10, 2006 9:41 AM

John, john, john! Are you claiming that our current system of security theater is more about protecting the business interests of airlines and their yield management systems than our safety? I am shocked – shocked, I tell you!

Bruce Schneier March 10, 2006 10:05 AM

“Yeah, go to the airport and submit get felt up by government agents who also go through your belongings. Let freedom ring.

“I’m sorry, but being physically searched is far worse than flashing a fake ID.”

I think this is a very complex and subtle question, and I don’t know the answer: Which is better: an invasive yet anonymous search, or a non-invasive search that results in a persistant data record?

Stephen March 10, 2006 10:22 AM

“Which is better: an invasive yet anonymous search, or a non-invasive search that results in a persistant data record?”


Honestly, neither is an acceptable option. Moreso, there’s nothing to stop the search from being both invasive and recorded.

Until the vast majority of people stop being so damned willing to submit to pat-downs, scannings, and questioning, the status quo shall continue. Because YOU think some unidentified assailant MAY attack YOU in an as-of-yet unknown manner does not make searching ME a reasonable requirement.

Anonymous March 10, 2006 10:26 AM

A better solution is to just not fly commercial airlines. The government will probably bail them out for a while, but eventually if people stop using them because of the ridiculous treatment of their customers they will change the way they do things.

Anonymous March 10, 2006 10:28 AM

@ Swiss

“The Gilmore case… got thrown out of court, so the “Identity Project” wants volunteers to retest similar cases before court. Right?”

According to Mr. Gilmore refused to show ID and was told he would have to be more extensively searched than most other travelers, which he also refused, whereupon he was prevented from flying. The government claimed, in its arguments to the court, that if Mr. Gilmore had consented to the search he would have been allowed to fly, without showing ID. But just because the government has claimed something in court doesn’t create a legal precendent, so this is what the Identity Project is trying to test.

David Chess March 10, 2006 10:53 AM

“they’re supposed to do that for people who have cargo pockets”: whoa, that explains alot! And here I thought it was just my good looks. They generally go politely through my bag also (although not through the bags of any wife and kids that I’m clearly travelling with, presumably since they don’t have cargo pockets…).

Alan Porter March 10, 2006 11:13 AM

To point out the absurdity of it all, I think we should show up at the airport wearing nothing but a Speedo. No bags. No ID. Just me, (almost) as naked as the day I was born.

another_bruce March 10, 2006 11:16 AM

if you were referring to the hiibel case from nevada which reached the supreme court, the court did not say you must show id to law enforcement, it said you must identify yourself. not the same thing, and i have no problem telling them who i am. when i’m in a good mood, i’ll show them my inactive but still perfectly valid california state bar card, to let them know they’re in for a fight.
california had a show-id statute which was invalidated in the supreme court case of kolender v. lawson.

SP March 10, 2006 11:38 AM

I fly weekly. One week, I lost my DL – not my entire wallet, mind you, just my DL. Of course, I didnt realize this until I got to the airport. TSA didnt have a problem with it at all – I had previously printed my boarding pass online so there were no problems there. Of course, they put me through the additional physical screening, but nonetheless, I was through security in pretty much record time considering.

Joe Buck March 10, 2006 11:45 AM

My wife tried it out, by accident. She was in LA with our daughter, visiting her sister, and she managed to lose her driver’s license somehow.
She was in a panic about whether she could get home, since she had no other ID with her photo on it.

Her sister came with her to the airport to vouch for her (which wasn’t really necessary as it turned out), and she had to do secondary screening (which involved a thorough search of the luggage). But a 40ish mom traveling with a 7-year old doesn’t look all that threatening.

Anonymoose March 10, 2006 11:53 AM


Better be careful. They may decide you are suspicious and likely hiding something and then search you thoroughly.

J.P. March 10, 2006 11:56 AM


“Yeah, and don’t forget that the opinions of the 9th Circuit only apply to their area of jurisdiction — namely, the West Coast, I think AK and HI as well as Guam, and maybe NV and a few other western states.”

But I don’t think it’s the 9th Circuit’s opinion that’s at issue — because the TSA argued before the court that certain (national?) policies were in place allowing people to fly without showing I.D., if this is not true, then they perjured themselves. (And that would be regardless of the outcome of the case or of the jurisdiction of the court.)

erika March 10, 2006 12:09 PM

I did it a few years ago from PDX to DTW, because my wallet had been stolen the night before. Pre-911, but it was no problem at all — they just searched my purse and let me on the plane. I was travelling with someone so when he checked in, my name came up as well, and they believed him that the second ticket was for me.

James M March 10, 2006 12:13 PM

You still have to show your ID when checking baggage, since it is not checked before you are allowed to proceed.

I guess if Mr. Gilmore wants anonymity he’ll have to travel light.

James M March 10, 2006 12:19 PM

To clarify; ID’s aren’t needed when entering the boarding area because you are searched for contraband before you can proceed.

If ID’s weren’t required when checking a bag, you purchase a ticket with a stolen credit card, then anonomously check in a bag with a bomb and leave since they don’t check bags right then and there. So I doubt the baggage ID policy is covered by the ruling.

bob March 10, 2006 12:29 PM

…unless you work at the airport in which case you can stroll around on the tarmac, in and out of the “secure” areas carrying all kinds of things and nobody ever questions you or checks what you are adding to the aircraft.

jackjack March 10, 2006 12:51 PM

Hearing that a court has ruled we can still fly without ID is a relief — like maybe we’re returning to sanity. Real airline security is a good weapons screening and a secure cockpit door. Everything else is bull.

Unfortunately, the 9th Circuit is regarded as a bunch of liberal wackos by the people who selected our newest Supreme Court Justices. So we’ll see how long even this level of freedom lasts…

Anonymous March 10, 2006 12:53 PM

Does this only apply to the security screening? Or can one expect to be able to purchase and fly to any destination without at some point showing ID.

Which is better: an invasive yet anonymous
search, or a non-invasive search that results in a
persistant data record?

Persistant record? When I show ID at the airport they just match the drivers license photo to my face and the name to the boarding pass. They don’t record anything.

The airline on the other hand, has a record that I checked-in. And probably a record that I bought the ticket. And for international flights they do scan your passport at the check-in counter. And passenger manifests do get transmitted to the destination.

Good luck trying to travel to another country and not showing ID. And foreigners can’t enter the US without being fingerprinted and photographed.

Frank March 10, 2006 12:58 PM

The remaining question that I have is how identity is supposed to relate to security. The purpose of checkpoints is to assess whether a person is a threat to the flight. That trait is independent of identity. Linking (lack of) identification to an extra search doesn’t make any sense for security. It’s profiling.

NoLongerAFreeMan March 10, 2006 1:08 PM

When you’re searched, what stops them from checking any id you’re carrying?! This makes me so angry. Why are so few Americans angry about this?!

NoLongerAFreeMan March 10, 2006 1:12 PM

JackJack wroe: “Real airline security is a good weapons screening and a secure cockpit door.”

No, security is weapons screening and NO COCKPIT DOOR.

Cockpits should only be accessible from outside of the aircraft. All of the methods apply to secure the existing cockpit doors are superficial at best.

Anonymous March 10, 2006 1:46 PM

The remaining question that I have is how
identity is supposed to relate to security.

Well, if you had a list of “bad guys” and check authenticated identification to that list, maybe. However, most “show ID” security checks at best check to see that the ID is real (superficial visual check) and that the picture resembles the bearer (though not always, due to changes in hair style glasses, facial hair, etc.). Sometimes the ID is compared to other documents (e.g. boarding pass), but most of the time the only thing being checked for is that you have ID, not who you are, which is mostly a useless waste of time.

TimH March 10, 2006 2:03 PM

@Bruce “I think this is a very complex and subtle question, and I don’t know the answer: Which is better: an invasive yet anonymous search, or a non-invasive search that results in a persistant data record?”

In both cases there are still records which ultimately identify you as taking the flight, unless you bought a paper ticket in person using an alias name and used cash.

Michael Smith? March 10, 2006 2:05 PM

So I don’t have to have ID to get through the security checkpoint but are there rules/policies/procedures for presenting ID to purchase a ticket?

For instance could I buy a ticket with cash, not check baggage and board the plane all withough showing ID?

I’m thinking the airlines probably wouldn’t sell me a ticket without seeing ID first.

Michael Smith?

@nonymou5 March 10, 2006 2:18 PM

I traveled about a month ago. I forgot to update my Drivers License. Hence I had an ID (Drivers License), It was just expired by three weeks. I got a secondary screening. Ya know what, the extra 20 minutes of opening everything in my bag and having them test it for I guess gunpowder was not worth it. I would say the secondary screening is more intrusive then the first.

@Michael Smith?

I’m thinking the airlines probably wouldn’t sell me a ticket without seeing ID first.
The justification goes that maybe that ticket is stolen. But if so, then why not also have a fake ID to go with it.

David Donahue March 10, 2006 2:46 PM

NoLongerAFreeMan said:

No, security is weapons screening and NO COCKPIT DOOR.
Cockpits should only be accessible from outside of the aircraft. All of the methods apply to secure the existing cockpit doors are superficial at best.

Actually allowing access from the cabin to the cockpit in non-terrorist situations is a safety feature. There are many emergency scenarios where Pilots need access to emergency “manual override” controls located throughout the plane, not to mention they assist/direct the flight crew after a hard or water landing. Also Medical situations arise where pilot trained flight crew (stewardess, etc.) or even passengers might need to take the controls.

The safety and emergencies scenarios are much more likely than the terrorist ones so it’s a good trade-off to incur the risk of a good door vs. the lack of trained resources being able to get to where they are critically needed.

Anomalous March 10, 2006 3:42 PM


…unless you work at the airport…

More like “unless you LOOK LIKE you work at the airport”.

Robert Fields March 10, 2006 4:44 PM

I’m sorry; I really am having a hard time understanding why it is such an issue to show someone your friggin id. It takes a second to do it and I’ve yet to see them jot anything down. Besides, so what if you are tracked? Are you doing something that you don’t want people to find out about? If so, stop it! It’s in public, you are on a plane with 200 other people. Get over it. If you want to remain secret, drive yourself there!

Robert Fields II March 10, 2006 5:01 PM

I agree entirely with Robert Fields I – If you lose your ID – screw you! Get off the plane. People who lose things are a threat to all society.

So it’s inconvenient for you because you lost your ID, or it was stolen. You should be more careful, and since you weren’t, you can’t fly. This is so much better than your so called ‘freedom.’

Pat Cahalan March 10, 2006 5:18 PM

@ Robert Fields

A female friend of mine once was in the very difficult position of having to show her driver’s license (with her home address) to a law enforcement agent who was “decidedly creepy”.

Nothing came of that particular incident, but I can just imagine how quickly your attitude towards showing your ID would be if the person requesting your ID was making all sorts of sexual suggestions and/or generally acting otherwise “decidedly creepy”.

Matt K March 10, 2006 5:23 PM

Getting on a plane without photo id is also simple. If you’ve ever lost your driver’s license you’ve got the way. DMV’s usually give you a paper version with no photo. I’ve flown using this as ID many times.

This is clearly something one could print at home with whatever name you wanted on the ticket and the paper license.

Anonymous March 10, 2006 5:32 PM

In response to Pat Calahan:

If the law enforcement officer asking for your ID is “creepy” you’ve got bigger problems than showing ID. A more intrusive secondary search would be far creepier under those circumstances. Luckily at airports, there are usually dozens of officers and supervisors around, so if one were to make sexually suggestive comments, you should be able to complain instantly and safely.

Moz March 11, 2006 1:59 AM

“after a man whose shoes provided an initial positive alert for explosives”; It’s not quite a normal “leaving the area”. They already had reason to believe the man had explosives with him. In the UK he would probably have been shot dead.

MathFox March 11, 2006 6:54 AM

The LaGuardia story makes me wonder what the total cost of TSA “security” is. One killed, hundreds of planes delayed, millions of travellers inconvened…

Oren March 11, 2006 7:51 AM

JackJack wroe: “Real airline security is a good weapons screening and a secure cockpit door.”

No, real airline security is allowing, even encouraging people to carry weapons on board.

Anonymous March 11, 2006 9:01 AM

No, real airline security is allowing, even
encouraging people to carry weapons on board.

Yeah, about time we beef up the statistics on accidental shootings on board airplanes. Instead of just accidentally shooting friends and family, we should be able to depressurize and take down a whole planeload of people because we had too much to drink or don’t know how to manage our anger.

MS March 11, 2006 12:22 PM

So how about some proportion of passengers are issued with Tasers to carry on board? The percentage would vary from, say, 50% to 90% so Mr. Qaeda and his followers could never know they’ve collected them all and would be hopelessly outnumbered and unable to turn their backs on anyone. If the cabin door is Taser-proof, which they pretty much were even before 9-11, what’s the worst that could happen? There’s a taser fight, a lot of people wake up wearing handcuffs and it’s all sorted out on the ground. Is that really worse than the hard exterior and oh-so-soft center of an incentive that the current ‘security’ arrangements provide?

Too scared to say March 11, 2006 1:19 PM

Yeah, right. I’m a European, here on a visa. Not being a “citizen”, I have no rights so I could get shot or deported if I tried that sort of ID thing.

Anonymous March 11, 2006 4:34 PM

Given the choice of flashing a drivers license on my way to a boarding gate vs the risk of getting tasered and handcuffed in the air “to be sorted out once we’re on the ground” I’ll go with showing my ID. There are more drunk, mentally unstable, juvenile and irresponsible traveller than there are Al-Q hijackers.

Even with no weapons on board, many people agree that a hijacking and suicide crash is no longer a viable tactic since you can’t control a planeload of unarmed passengers who know they would die if they just sat back and waited.

Jarrod Frates March 11, 2006 7:56 PM

“Instead of just accidentally shooting friends and family, we should be able to depressurize and take down a whole planeload of people”

Mythbusters dealt with this. A single bullet, or even a few, will not bring down a plane through depressurization.

Perry March 11, 2006 9:50 PM

A few years ago I needed to travel from Boston to Georgia to ferry a plane back north. I showed up at the Delta counter and paid cash for a one-way ticket. The only bag i was carrying contained one change of clothes, aeronautical charts for most of the east coast, a hand-held GPS unit, and a large wrench.

I was searched not once, not twice, but three times, and a supervisor was called in to write a report on why the wrench hadn’t been confiscated the first two times.

If the system were was really about security, I should never have been allowed on a commercial flight given the appearance.

englishman March 12, 2006 8:14 PM

I have decided to stop coming to the US. I now consider you a rogue state with a flawed legal system I cannot trust, like a third world country, devoid of adequate civil rights protection.

Fingerprint identification alone is highly unreliable, which is why the fingerprinters professional association refuses to allow any of its members to participate in any scientific trial to determine error rates.

If I enter your country you will compulsorily take my fingerprints and compare them with your database. Any spurious identification could result in me being “disappeared” as in an african dictatorship. No charges, no legal representation, no informing of my relatives, no appeal, no admission I am being held – maybe even indefinitely (perhaps in Guantanomo even).

The present US government is a disgrace, and the people are a disgrace to their forbears for throwing away so much of what they fought for. All by falling for the same old “exaggerated enemy” scare tactics used by tyrannical governments down the ages, from Ancient Greece to Nazi germany. You’d think we’d learn, but no – it never fails, century after century.

And yes, many aspects of “airline security” are ineffective, full of holes, and almost childishly naive. That’s because they aren’t really there for security, but to give its outward appearance, and to keep up the scared feeling that makes us docile.

James Katt March 12, 2006 11:28 PM

The problem of chosing the more extensive personal search is that they could do a body orifice search – just as they do with travelers from Nigeria. Nothing like a vaginal and rectal search to make flying safer.

Huge March 13, 2006 5:19 AM

“Englishman”, I couldn’t agree more. If it wasn’t for the fact that my (elderly, ill) Mother lives in the USA, I’d cheerfully never go there again. It was bad enough when the automatic assumption by the INS officers was that you were an illegal alien, now the assumption is that you’re a terrorist who can be fingerprinted, photographed and disappeared. That humming noise you can hear is the Founding Fathers rotating in their graves at several hundred RPM.

Mitch March 13, 2006 7:53 AM

I’m British and work for an American corporation. As part of my job, I am required to attend courses at the US HQ every few years. Otherwise, I’d be with ‘Englishman’ – I have decided not to travel to the US for any more holidays, even though the country is beautiful and the people are generally friendly. (I take my holidays in France nowadays – the people aren’t so friendly, but it doesn’t feel like a police state, even though it is in many ways).

A bit off topic, but I’m interested to know what happens if I end up on a No Fly list; this would mean I am unable to attend the mandatory courses in the US… would I lose my job over this? If so, who would I have recourse to? This, of course, assumes I’m not “disappeared” to the concentration camp at Guantanemo Bay.

My first trip to the US for several years is coming up in a month or two, and I am dreading participating in the American security pantomime.

My next job will not be for an American corporation.

Bill McGonigle March 14, 2006 9:51 PM

Alan is on to something. If we can get a 400 pound hirsute man on every flight with a Speedo and only a Speedo we’ll put an end to this nonsense very quickly.

Broken record mode – implement ground-ordered mandatory automated landing systems and all of the other problems go away, at a much lower cost. If the Navy can land a fighter on a moving carrier and hit the braking cable automatically, we can hit an 11000′ airstrip at O’Hare with a 737.

Anonymous March 15, 2006 1:34 AM

I don’t have a government issued photo ID, and I was allowed to fly. I showed my photo check card, and my birth certificate. It worked fine. I didn’t mind the additional screening- ok, I did, but I understood it. I didin’t understand the kids getting checked, while some people that were traveling alone bypassed the screening.

FYI – I do plan on getting a photo ID this week. I had to round up my social sercurity card, my birth certificate, an offical copy of my high school transcript and a pay stub.

Tammy March 15, 2006 12:28 PM

I had a similar experience to Pat Callahan’s friend — a decidedly creepy (male) security screener who walked a thin line between a secondary screening and outright sexual battery.

The problem is, when the creepy screener tells you that it’ll take a half hour to find a female screener, and you have a flight to make (I forget which airport I was in, but it required a re-screening when you moved between terminals) there’s not a lot of incentive to make a big fuss and miss your flight.

It’s pretty to think that you can always avoid dangerous or uncomfortable situations. Unfortunately, that’s not always the reality — for women or men.

Linda March 15, 2006 12:35 PM

I flew from Detroit to Orlando last year without ID, because I forgot it at home. It didn’t seem to be a problem. They made some notation on my ticket though and I had to have the full search (your basic “stand legs apart/arms out body wand”). That was all they did for extra security.

travelinfool June 4, 2006 1:18 PM

I am completely agreeable with it… because on the flip side… someone could intend on committing a crime on a plane… and simply flash his ID and not be searched at all.. and slide by, commit the crime anyway. I am all for the searches. Being searched by the government is not a big deal and it’s happened to me before, they are just doing their jobs and they are not trying to get freaky with you.

James June 19, 2006 11:32 PM

I am an illegal immigrant and because of my legal situation I not able to get an ID or a drivers licence. I travel a lot from San Jose to LA via Greyhound but the service is just horrible. I have an school ID, credit card, debit card with a picture but am really scare that they will reject me or deport me. Any suggestion of what I can do cuse I would love to travel via airplane.

Mary Gay July 15, 2006 8:21 PM

I got to the airport and realized I had picked up the wrong purse and did not have my drivers license, flying Frontier from National to Denver…they accepted a credit card with name on it, no picture. Now I am in Denver hoping I can get home!!

rick August 18, 2006 3:53 PM

im flying from buffalo ny to seattle in a few weeks , all i have is a high school id and social security card , can i get through security with that ?

Dirt Rancher September 10, 2006 11:00 PM

I actually don’t see why airline folks need to see an ID, and the fact that we are asked reminds me of movies where say, in the former U.S.S.R. people had to show their “papers”.

In the meantime, I hope the pilots of planes and airline companies have figured out that even if someone were to get on a plane with a gun and tried to hijack it, that there is absolutely no way that they would be able to shoot all the pilots if the second the pilots figured out what was happening, they shoved the plane into a 360 deg spin, dived or their harsh G-force move of choice. A couple of good spins and the assailant, as well as any passengers that didn’t have thier seatbelts on would likely be paralyzed for life, if not dead – but the plane sure as hell wouldn’t go thru another skyscraper.

jkj September 13, 2006 4:59 AM

if i got here under a tourist visa but my time limit here (30days) expired which makes me illegal now (the visa hasn’t expired yet) would i have a problem if i showed that passport as an id?

Matt September 14, 2006 11:53 PM

I am flying from NYC to Florida on monday and all I have is a very expired learners permit with a not so good photo of me, the airline is jet blue, does anyone know how big iof a problem i can expect or if Ill be allowed to board at all.

Steve J January 8, 2007 1:42 PM

Forgot my wallet on my dresser at home when flying from LAX to SFO for a funeral. The United staff inspected my wife’s ID and frequent flyer card, they found my frequent flyer number by association, and I got a boarding pass indicating secondary inspection. Having transferred all of my metallic objects and hand baggage to wife and kids, the secondary inspection took very little time indeed.

Private Pilot January 9, 2007 11:14 AM

I’m a private pilot. I purchased a Cessna (a nice one can be had for the cost of an high end SUV) and I go where I want, when I want and there is no TSA involvement, no bag checks, no ID checks. It’s like pulling your car out of the garage (hangar) and flying away. I have friends in the TSA and who work in airport security and they’ll tell you first hand it’s a bunch of crap! It’s for ‘sheeple’ who want that feel good that ‘Osama’ is not on their airplane. Those folks are willing to trade a little bit of security for alot of freedom. That line of thinking is what earned Germany it’s Hitler and will eventually earn us a police state.

betty January 20, 2007 4:33 PM

I was stupid enough to get a DUI and they confiscate your license, so I know that I can’t drive but why should that prohibit me from flying? If a DL is “ID” then couldnt they have just stamped it as unvalid for driving and returned it to me for continued use as ID? Oh, but then they wouldn’t make the extra money they do when I have to go “purchase” an ID card at the DMV….Oh and for flying, so feel me up, big deal, I get to give some guy who otherwise would never have a chance with me a little thrill. My good deed for the day!

Jack January 25, 2007 5:26 PM

I googled and found this site after flying to Denver from New York this last weekend. My travel agent had typed my middle name as my last name and ommitted my last name completely. They marked me for “extra screening” on my ticket but no one paid any attention to that and I got no extra screening. On the way back the man at the check-in counter (who works for the airline) told me, “if you like you can just say that you don’t have ID and go thought extra screening.” I found this hard to believe and showed my ID anyway so he simply signed my ticket as “ok” and they let me through with an extra pat down. No big deal. My personal opinion is that people should be able to travel anonymously but security should also be able to be sure you are not putting anyone else in danger. Going through extra security is fine with me. I don’t mind a pat down, It can even be fun with the right guard. I think everyone should have to go through more security. It makes me feel safer. I have nothing to hide. I’m not planning anything dangerous. I do think we should be able to have privacey when it comes to where and when I travel though.

Vladimir February 20, 2007 1:04 PM

TSA and the airlines know you can travel without/with an expired ID, but the contractors that do ID checks at the front of the security line at many airports may not. One did not let me through at ATL yesterday. I explained the situation and my rights to him (he was unaware), and all that resulted was airport police being summoned by him. I then entered another security line and got through without problems. The worst part about the experience was some gloating hicks behind me in the line, apparently happy that a “terrorist” was uncovered in their glorious midst.

betty February 22, 2007 10:37 PM

So, I’m the one with the DUI and no ID, so guess what happened? I was “selected” for extra screening and got to JUMP the HUGE Security Line WAY AHEAD of all of those with ID! No ID is the way to go! I was sipping my coffee at the gate while my collegues where still emptying their briefcases and taking off their shoes! WhhooHoo..!!

betty February 22, 2007 10:40 PM

Forgot toadd, got a great massage heading out of town, and a so-so one coming back from the security people…well worth the time not standing in line, always new I was special now the airlines treat me that way (with no ID)! Kinda makes up for the lack of snacks!

Rachel June 17, 2007 11:50 PM

I have a question…

Lets say I have a friend who was brought here from Mexico as a child and is undocumented. Would they be able to travel via airplane and simply have the extra screening? Do you think there skin being a different color would effect them? Also, would they be forced to show papers?

ICalledTSA June 28, 2007 11:46 PM

I had my DL stolen along with my alternate picture ID’s. I called TSA and asked the rules for this procedure. She explained to me that if I brought 2 state-issued non-picture forms of ID (i.e. copy of birth certificate, s.s. card, etc) and arrived at the airport 2 hours early, I should be fine. I also told her I had a gym membership card with a picture, and she told me it couldn’t hurt to bring it. Basically, added security measures are issued to you for no state-issued, pictured ID. hope this helps!!

Nostromo August 1, 2007 7:45 AM


“…tourist visa but my time limit here (30days) expired which makes me illegal now (the visa hasn’t expired yet) would i have a problem if i showed that passport as an id?”
The expiry date isn’t on your visa (only the arrival date). The expiry date is on a separate form (the I-94 form) given to you when you entered the country. (It may be stapled in your passport but you can remove it). When you leave the country, the I-94 is supposed to be collected by the airline when you check in, not by Immigration. (they pass it along to the INS). If you do overstay your visa, the best thing to do is just tell the airline you’ve lost the I-94 when they ask for it. Then there is no record with the INS that you ever overstayed the visa.
So you have no problem. Just don’t leave the I-94 in your passport.

Hansen September 1, 2007 5:09 PM

So, if you have a fake ID, you can get through security and get on a plane easily? Could a minor get a fake ID and get through and onto a plane?

Is the system that easy to flaw? haha

Azula October 26, 2007 7:58 PM

Oh, that’s soooo not true!! The stamp you have on your passport at the time you enter the country HAS the type of visa (that’s a guideline to know how long are you allowed to stay, simply count from the date your passport was stamped), so the airline may let you pass anyway without the I-94, but if you EVER try to return to the US, and the officer checking your passport has good eye, he will notice your exit date doesn’t correspod with your stamped date of exit, and you will be deported… Ok, exiting the us with an overstay is not the problem, but wait until you try to return!! (Whatever, is october now, anyway)

joeshmo December 4, 2007 6:13 PM

In response to the fifth comment by Ed T:

In Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, the Supreme Court held that a state law requiring a suspect to “identify himself” was constitutional. The Court said:

“As we understand it, the statute does not require a suspect to give the officer a driver’s license or any other document. Provided that the suspect either states his name or communicates it to the officer by other means–a choice, we assume, that the suspect may make–the statute is satisfied and no violation occurs.”

Insecurity January 22, 2008 5:58 AM

“According to the TSA, in the 9th Circuit Case of John Gilmore, you are allowed to fly without showing ID — you’ll just have to submit yourself to secondary screening.”

Does anyone have a link to verify this statement?

I work as a screening officer…and this is true no id needed…for customer service sake and the airlines to make money…no one cares who is flying.. as long as you have no weapons or components of weapons on your person…. we secondary screen you to ensure that you will not cause harm in flight…
Passengers dont really want safety they want to be less inconvienced…Isnt that what it like to be an american?

Matt Schiros February 17, 2008 5:00 PM

I’ve flown on ~20 domestic flights without ever showing ID, and most of the time, it’s not a problem. Most of my flights have been with Continental, and out of either the Austin or Cleveland airports, and each time, I’ve checked in online with my e-ticket, printed out my boarding pass, walked up to the metal detector area, and told whichever bored bureaucrat standing there that I needed to fly as a selectee, because I have no form of ID. A couple of times, I’ve gotten a “really, you don’t have ANYTHING with your picture on it” response, but I have yet to be harassed or inconvenienced by it. Sure, I get super-anal-might-be-a-terrorist-even-though-he’s-a-fat-white-guy searched, but whatever.

The point of doing this is that identity doesn’t prove security. Even if the TSA monkeys knew with 100% certainty that I am indeed who I claim to be, that tells them exactly nothing about what threat I might pose once I get on the plane. In fact, since we’re all aware that the no-fly lists are a straight up joke, there’s a better chance that knowing my identity will DECREASE the accuracy of their threat evaluations.

FLyinghigh April 30, 2008 3:52 PM

Well I have had a riff year didn’t renew my license and need to fly to Houston soon, I am bringign my State issues Birth cert, expired license and car insurance (as told by the airline).

WEll if they do a cavity search, As long as you’re cute, I ight not mind. They do it I’ll moan and say “Keep going, I’m almost there” maybe they will be less likly to again.

Security Expert September 19, 2008 1:59 AM

The frisking operation at U.S airports is a nightmare. The Supreme Court and other
people sanctioning this have lowered our standard of living. Its’ underlying purpose is to create an atmosphere which will support the wasteful spending going on now by the military-industrial complex.
Also, the airport invasions of privacy are
in violation of international law. A UN Court of Justice inquiry is in order to stop these human rights violations.

Leslie May 25, 2009 5:54 PM

I flew from SFO to Chicago last week with an ID that has been expired for more than 4 years. I was required to show my birth certificate and that was all. They pull you aside and have someone check your info, then initial your boarding pass and send you on your way. It took maybe 5 minutes longer.

Jay November 18, 2009 6:19 PM

Do the airlines know if you give them a fake drivers license?

I don’t want people to know where I go, I want to fly in privacy, so I was thinking of using a fake id…

No ID Flyer. April 2, 2010 11:08 PM

I have never flown with ID. I dont have any. I only had trouble once. Last year, I went to get my ticket the guy at the counter (Jet blue) asked for my ID. I told him I did not have one. He said “Please I dentify yourself” so I told him who I was. He said it again, I told him who I was again and asked what else I could do for him. He said “I’m going to ask you one more time to identify yourself then I will call the police” I told him to call the police. The police came over, everyone agreed that I did not need ID to fly, then the cops told them not to give me a boarding pass. I missed my flight. My money was refunded. An hour later I bought another ticket. A different person asked me for my ID. I told her I did not have one, she said “No problem but you will have to go under secondary screening”. I had no problems. I should have punched the first douchebag at the ticket counter, he was an ignorant human being. The cops were just mad that I dont have any ID, they called me a ‘wingnut’ for not having ID. “What if you get hit by a bus?” They asked me, I told them I don’t think I’d be too concerned about ID if i got hit by a buss.

Freedom Lover August 2, 2010 3:05 PM

The government, (which is, by the way, the same entity as our huge trans- national corporations), is looking for TOTAL submission from the citizens to their will, whether the request is for something reasonable or something completely insane. I applaud ” No ID Flyer” !!!!! Having a piece of government issued plastic, RFID chip,or better yet (one day) implant, doesn’t make someone safe to fly with; it proves their obedience to the government’s will.

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