Jun 14 2013

How many people fly without ID? How many are denied the right to fly?

Buried in the TSA’s response last month to our FOIA request for information about its ID verification forms a and procedures was a fragmentary report on how many people try to fly without ID, and what happens to them.

An e-mail message discussing the changes made in 2008 to the TSA’s (secret) procedures for flying without ID — the last time TSA Form 415 for air travelers without ID was revised — included a TSA Operation Center (TSOC) “ID Verification Report” for the 15-hour period from 5 p.m. on June 21, 2008, to 8 a.m. on June 22.

On what was described as a “quiet” night, 74 people (nationwide, apparently) tried to fly without ID and were subjected to the TSA “ID verification” procedures between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m., and an additional 45 between 5 and 8 a.m. the next morning, for a total of 119. This didn’t include what is presumably the busiest shift, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but what still suggest that tens of thousands of people try to fly without ID each year.

It appears that most of these people were allowed to fly without ID. Of the total of 119, only 8 were reported as “denials” (presumably meaning that they were identified, but deemed on the basis of that identification to be subject to no-fly orders), while 23 were reported a “not verified”. It’s unclear if those “not verified” were denied travel,  or were allowed to travel despite not being “verified”.

Now that we know that records are being kept of how many people try to fly without ID, and of what happens to them, we’ve filed a follow-up FOIA request for all “TSOC ID Verification Reports” as well as any records of how incidents and outcomes are categorized for reporting purposes.