Airport Security Faster *Without* ID

TSA toyThis just boggles the mind:

[DHS committee member] Jim Harper left his hotel early Thursday at 5:30 a.m. to give himself more than two hours to clear security at San Francisco International Airport. It wasn’t that he was worried the security line would be long, but because he accepted a dare from civil liberties rabble-rouser John Gilmore to test whether he could actually fly without showing identification.

[…] Harper told the identification checker he had no ID, and the attendant quickly wrote “No ID” with a red marker on his ticket and shunted him off to an extra screening line — generously allowing him to bypass the longer queue of card-carrying passengers.

[…] At 6:30 a.m., standing 50 yards away on the other side of the glass screen, Harper phoned to say he now had two hours to kill, having gotten through screening perhaps even faster than he would have if he’d shown ID.

Your skymiles may vary, but I’d venture to say this is news that we’ll hear more of as people test the system to see just how constitutional it is to require ID to travel, though I’d be willing to guess that more than a few folks won’t be as lucky as Mr. Harper.

  1. Seems to me they’re NOT actually requiring it. Tempting to just go without.

    But you need ID to use a (virtual) e-ticket. Some airlines are charging heavy premiums for paper tickets now.

  2. Anybody manage to use an e-ticket without id? I can’t believe they’d let you. You’d just have to claim to be the person who bought it, but why would they believe you?

    Of course if nobody else shows up to claim the seat, you’re probably the right guy, but the airline wouldn’t want to wait til the plane’s about to take off to clear this up.

  3. Then again, what about using a fake id? It works at bars.

    But I guess you’d have to kill or tie up the real ticket-buyer to keep him from showing up and blowing your cover.

    Oh wait! Get an ID as a person who doesn’t really exist or is dead. This falls into the category of creating a new identity, but of course the new identity would start to leave its own paper trail…

  4. All I can contribute is that people, especially cogs in a bureaucratic machine, eventually learn the unwritten rules and follow them rather than the written ones. A trustworthy appearance will get you through.

    It has been part of my job to collect Form I-9, the one that allows one to work in the U.S. The employer (or its agent) must sign a certification under penalty of perjury that they examined original ID and that it appeared to be genuine. I’m handed this form all the time with a fax copy of the documents attached (if I’m lucky).

    I can’t tell you how much money is wasted trying to comply with this stupid I-9 requirement which so many ignore or don’t understand or follow. Many, rightly, know that the person applying for the job is the best candidate for the job, and the I-9 is a piece of paper for the file.

    Any well-trained security will be far more interested in your suspicious behavior no matter how good your papers are.