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What if I Don’t Have My ID at the Airport?

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Lost ID? Airport security will still take you.

Lucky posted an amusing anecdote about a girl attempting to use her Facebook profile as ID when going through airport security.

But what do you do if you actually don’t have your ID with you?

I had to quickly learn the rules a few years back.  My ex left for a trip the night before via car and I was meeting him the next day via plane.

When I got up in the morning, I had a text that said, “I think I accidentally grabbed one of your tote bags.”

My tote bag?  I suddenly realized, he meant my purse!  If I were at my apartment, that would have been fine.  I could have grabbed my passport and been fine.  But I was at my parents’ house for the holidays.  And now with no ID!

I looked around my parent’s house and all I could find was a Discover Card that was still valid (my purse had the same card, but with a cuter picture background.)

lost id airportI went to La Guardia Airport early, expecting to get scolded for sure, and potentially denied from my flight.

What actually occurred was the agent looked at my credit card, asked me a few questions about my birthday and employment, left for a few minutes, came back and scribbled something on my boarding pass.  He was so nonchalant.

I guess I looked worried still because the agent finally said, “Do you have any idea how many tourists get their wallets stolen in New York when they need to board a plane?!”

I went through the security check point and the TSA agent saw the scribbled note.  I started explaining the situation, but the agent snort-laughed and said, “Tourist.”

lost id airport
Lost ID? Airport security will still take you.

I sometimes jump into “Bronx-mode” as my friends will call it, because thems fightin’ words.  But I kept my mouth shut, smiled politely, and went through the check point.

They secondary searched my bag, and that’s it.

For a short period of time, the TSA was putting people who didn’t have an ID on the same list as those who bring dangerous items to the checkpoint or engaged in suspicious behavior, but they don’t do that anymore.  But if you give a false name or try to use someone else’s ticket and claim you forgot your ID–you will get on that list, so do not see this as a way of getting around a name change fee on a ticket.  The stakes are too high.

But if you honestly forgot your ID, or–hopefully not–had your wallet stolen, you can still board a plane.

For the official word on the situation, here’s a TSA post on acceptable IDs.

 

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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6 comments

  1. Lost my wallet in Kansas City. Got through with a husband, check book, and old conference name badges. We got there early and I had to be willing to answer extra questions and possibly be searched. Well my husband ended up getting searched instead.

  2. I had my wallet stolen in NYC right after Sept. 11. I called ahead and was told to arrive early for a more thorough screening. In the end, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.

  3. Thank you. That is really nice to know. Wondering what would happen if something like that happened abroad.

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