Can You Board a Plane Without Photo ID?
Plane tickets? Check. Bottle of wine for the in-laws? Check. Driver's license? D'oh! Dealing with air travel at Thanksgiving time is hard enough with the proper identification, but have no fear: You can still board your plane. You might even get through security faster without your ID. Well, as long as you don't act like a jerk.
In order to board a plane, passengers 18 and older are required to show a valid U.S. federal- or state-issued photo ID that lists name, date of birth, gender, expiration date and includes a tamper-resistant feature, according to the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) website. Any passenger that refuses to provide such ID and won't cooperate with officers to verify his or her identity will not be allowed to pass the security checkpoint .
If, however, you have forgotten or lost your ID or it has expired, and you are willing to cooperate with the TSA, you can still catch your flight. You need two alternate forms of identification. The TSA suggests credit cards, birth certificate, social security card , or marriage license. (Although, I suspect that if you've forgotten your driver's license, you probably don't have your birth certificate handy.) For what it's worth, I know someone who once got through security with just her credit card and a CostCo membership card.
Now, here's the part where you pay for leaving your ID at home: Once the TSA confirms your identity, they almost certainly will subject you to additional screening.
The TSA doesn't get into what that additional screening will entail, but if you head to a frequent-flyer discussion forum, such as flyertalk.com, you'll find that "additional screening" involves an extra-thorough pat down as well as the customary X-ray scanning . You'll probably also have to dump your clothes from a carefully-packed suitcase for a security examination, which can certainly be a pain, but from stories told on the flyertalk.com message boards, sometimes it can be an advantage. Several flyers noted that the separate line for "additional screening" was much shorter than the regular security line, and they were through security and cozying up to the airport bar within 10 minutes.
- How Much Radiation Are You Exposed To During a Cross-Country Flight?
- Ticked-Off Travelers: Why We Hate the New TSA Screenings
- Business Travelers Worry More About Nov. 24 Boycott Than TSA Security
Got a question? Email it to Life's Little Mysteries and we'll find an expert who can crack it.
Follow Bjorn Carey on Twitter @thebjorncarey
MORE FROM LiveScience.com