Changes To TSA’s Secure Flight & What It Means For You

As we approach November 1st, the date new changes in the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program go into effect, some confusion seems to be bubbling to the surface.

I admit, I am not immune from the confusion, I was all set to wrote about the changes to Secure Flight a few day ago until I spotted something in an e-mail I had received from a major U.S. legacy airline that contradicted statements from other airlines … so what happens as of the 1st of November?

The next phase of TSA’s Secure Flight, which will be enacted on the 1st of November will require that all commercial airline passengers have their “Secure Flight Passenger Data” entered into their reservation at least 72 hours prior to departure.

The confusion regarding the impact of Secure Flight on travelers comes from wording from some airline websites, such as this excerpt from the American Airlines website, “If you have reservations for travel on or after November 1, 2010, you need to provide your SFPD at least 72 hours prior to departure. You will not be able to travel without the TSA mandated Secure Flight Passenger Data in your reservation.”

Many people appear to be reading the changes in Secure Flight to indicate that passengers can no longer purchase tickets within the 72hr window before a flight … and I have an e-mail from a major airline public relations department stating they do not believe their airline can sell seats within this 72hr window … but that notion is incorrect.

The fact is this … for passengers … there are very few changes, with the exception of being required to include full name as it appears on government issued ID, date of birth and gender in order for a boarding pass to be issued. The information passengers enter into their reservation for the Secure Flight program is submitted by the airlines 72 hours prior to flight to the TSA for cross references against terrorist and no-fly lists.

Now … should you need to buy a ticket 48 hours before a flight or 30 minutes before a flight (the time when airlines close out their flights) you can still do so.

Greg Soule from the TSA states “Secure Flight has ability to run passengers up until the last minute in real time through the watch list program.” & “Passengers can even walk up to the ticket counter last minute and buy a flight.”

The information and explanation provided by the TSA has been confirmed with a number of airlines … and the traveling public need not worry about purchasing seats after the 72 hour Secure Flight Passenger Data deadline has passed.

So when you wake up at 7:00am on November 2nd and your boss says, “You need to get on a 11:00am flight,” there is no need to worry, you’ll be able to get where you’re going.

Happy Flying!

So when you wake up at 7:00am on November 2nd and your boss says, “You need to get on a 11:00am flight,” there is no need to worry, you’ll be able to get where you’re going.

Happy Flying!

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