Airlines Are you ready for Secure Flight?

OK, I thought Id scare you with this ominous, 1984-ish term. Are you shaking?

Really, you shouldnt be. Heres all that you need to be ready for.

Secure Flight.jpg

Effective 1 May 2009, the Transportation Security Administration requires that airlines and travel agencies obtain the following from each passenger at the time of booking:

– Complete name (first, middle, last)
– Date of birth (month day year)
– Gender

Rather than paraphrase what the T.S.A. has already written, heres a link to the Secure Flight website where the details and goals of the program are explained.

Ah, for the good old days. Heres a story that would not be possible today.

Knowing the ins and outs of airline fares as I do, in the early 90s I bought a full-fare round-trip ticket from Spokane (where I had been on Amtrak business) to Mazatlan, Mexico on Alaska Airlines. (I needed to get to Seattle quickly for a friends graduation and the price of a restriction-free ticket from Spokane to Mazatlan wasnt all that much more than the one-way just to Seattle.) Because the fare allowed stopovers and it suited my purposes, the ticket was written in three segments: Spokane-Seattle, Seattle-San Francisco, San Francisco-Mazatlan, and the same in reverse.

All of the ticket was left open (no reservations) except the first leg from Spokane to Seattle. Naturally this was a paper ticket electronic tickets had not yet entered the picture.

Over the next nine months or so, I had the opportunity to use all of the pieces except the last Seattle-Spokane flight coupon. How did I dispose of it? I sold it to an acquaintance in Seattle who needed to fly one-way to Spokane. He made a reservation under my name and used the ticket no I.D. check!

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