Coming Soon:   Your Driver’s License May Not Be Enough For Airport Security……..

Coming Soon: Your Driver’s License May Not Be Enough For Airport Security……..

As a result of laws enacted by Congress in 2005, passengers traveling on January 22 and beyond will need a ‘compliant’ driver’s license in order to clear security at airports in most US states.

The ‘Real ID Act’ requires enhanced identification to be put in place by January 22, 2018.   This basically meant that your basic driver’s licenses needed to be updated with either barcode or ‘RFID’ technology that would contain more information than what is printed on the license.   28 States and  several US territories are currently compliant to the new standard, while 22 states received extensions to implement the changeover.

For residents traveling from states that have already enacted the ‘compliant’ licenses, they’ll have to provide the enhanced ID when clearing security, otherwise they run the risk of not be allowed through security.    For residents in states that have been granted extensions to implementing the new ID program, you can continue traveling on your current ID.  However, it may be wise to carry another official ID such as a passport or Global Entry card as a backup piece of ID.

The map below shows which states are already part of the Real ID program and which states are operating under an extension.   States shaded in Green are already compliant, while the yellow states are those with extensions.


Map courtesy of



So for example, if you are a Texas resident, you need to use your ‘Real ID’ license on January 22, otherwise you will need to show additional ID (Passport, Global Entry Card, etc) if you wish to clear security.    According to the TSA, if a resident of a ‘Real ID’ state shows up at security without the right ID and the TSA can’t prove the identity at screening, the passenger can be prevented from traveling.

Another example…..  If you are a Michigan resident (a state under extension), you can still use your normal driver’s license at security.   According to the TSA, if you are a resident of a state that is currently under extension, and are traveling from a state already in compliance you should be OK to use your Michigan license (i.e. Michigan resident flying from Texas).   But if we know anything, it’s that the TSA rules can be interpreted differently by each ‘officer’, so it might make sense that if you are in a state that is under extension to take along your Passport or Global Entry card as a back-up piece of ID.

Regardless of the changes coming on January 22, it will be required of all residents of all states to have a ‘Real ID’ Driver’s License by October 1, 2020.    At that point only Real ID Licenses will be acceptable, otherwise you’ll need to provide another valid ID, such as a passport or other officially recognized piece of identification.

The TSA expects this to go smoothly.

Where have we heard that before! 🙂

Mid-East Laptop / Electronics Ban Lifted Completely

Mid-East Laptop / Electronics Ban Lifted Completely

The State Department announced on Monday that it had lifted Laptop restrictions on flights departing Saudi Arabia, marking the final country and cities that were impacted by the months old ban.

With Monday’s announcement, Jeddah and Riyadh were removed.

For all of the airports that were impacted the ban, they have until July 19 to increase screening for explosives.   In addition, the airports have 120 days into install other screening techniques in order to be compliant with rules imposed by the TSA and State Department.  Otherwise the ban will be put back in place on non-compliant airports.


Thrill Seeker Meets Tragedy At Princess Juliana Airport

Thrill Seeker Meets Tragedy At Princess Juliana Airport

Almost anyone with a passion for aviation knows about Princess Juliana Airport located on the Dutch side of St. Maarten.   Most ‘avgeeks’ see it as a bucket list destination due to the fact that your are literally standing beneath aircraft that are only a few yards overhead as they land at ‘SXM’.    Others enjoy hanging on to the fence at the base of the runway only to be treated to jet thrusts of 747s as the spool up their engines for take off.

Unfortunately, one such thrill seeker was killed yesterday when she attempted to hang on to the fence during the take off of a Caribbean Airlines 737.   According to Fox News,  she apparently lost her grip and was thrown from the fence, landing in such a manner that resulted in her death a short time later.

Though tragic for her friends and family, I hope that the airport authorities do not over react to this and create policies that prevent people from pursuing this ‘thrill’.   It’s still on my bucket list and I’m sure it’s on the list of thousands of others that enjoy this sort of thing.

The airport and beach go to long lengths to warn visitors of the potential dangers that exist with being to close to the airport.   Signs are posted along the base of the runway, and common sense can also be helpful.   Hopefully the airport does not over react and ruin an ‘institution’ that has been popular with visitors for decades.

Fortunately, the family of the deceased agreed that what she did was wrong and that she was aware of the risks and signage warning people about the area.

Airport authorities said an investigation will take place to confirm the chain of events that lead to her death.

What are your thoughts?   Should the airport put measures in place to stop the thrill seekers, or allow it to continue at our own risk?