Oct 18 2010

Airlines to cancel reservations and deny passage to travelers who won’t provide “Secure Flight” info

Airlines are moving rapidly toward global industry standards, effective November 1, 2010, that could lead to cancellation of reservations — including already ticketed reservations — without notice to travelers and in violation of the contractual conditions in effect when tickets were sold, and denial of transportation to would-be passengers in violation of airlines’ operating licenses and international aviation treaties that require them to operate as “common carriers”.

We’ve previously noted the impossibility of knowing how the TSA will enforce its Secure Flight passenger surveillance and control scheme, since the enforcement of “Secure Flight” demands for information will, presumably, be carried by airlines acting on secret TSA Security Directives.  And in one of their most recent non-responses to our FOIA requests, the TSA reiterates their claim that all such Security Directives are by definition exempt from disclosure, regardless of whether their disclosure would have any actual effect on safety or security.

But we’ve also noted the recent announcements by some airlines, apparently starting with American,  that they plan to cancel or inhibit the creation or ticketing of reservations that don’t contain the additional personal information that the TSA wants each traveler to provide to both the airline (who is free to retain, use, sell, or otherwise disclose it) and the TSA: “full name” (whatever that means — there’s no definition in the Secure Flight regulations), gender, and date of birth.

Now airlines are going even further, with more airlines announcing their intent to cancel ticketed reservations if passengers don’t, on their own initiative, come forward with Secure Flight passenger Data (SFPD), and the airline trade association (and sometimes cartel) IATA reportedly expected to pass a global standard this week mandating inhibition of ticketing of all reservations without SFPD.

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