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 CNBC.com
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.
With airlines announcing new service to Paine Field, it will become easier than ever for ‘Avgeeks’ to reach one of the Meccas of Plane Spotting and the home to one of Boeing’s major campuses. It’s only taken 80 years to get us to this point!
In the past few days, United announced that they will begin operating flights to Paine Field in October 2018. Alaska made their announcement about service to the field earlier this year. It also appears that Allegiant will serve ‘PAE’ as well, but no official announcement from them as yet.
United’s announcement stated that they will bring six daily flights from Denver and San Francisco. Alaska thus far has announced 9 daily flights, but did not indicate where they would be coming from.
The Queen Of The Skies With Mt. Rainier In The Background
The re-opening of Paine Field to commercial operations has been a hotly contested topic in the Mukilteo area where the airport is located. Equal amounts of voices were for and against opening PAE to airlines. However, after the debates and legal challenges, the path has been laid to bring passengers to the field.
For us plane spotter types, this means it will be easier than ever to reach the birthplace of Boeing heavies and enjoy the views along the runway. What used to be a flight to Seattle, followed by a drive that is usually mired in heavy traffic from Seattle to Everett can now become a flight to PAE, followed by a 10 minute hotel shuttle bus ride to the Hilton Garden Inn located next to the field.
The TSA announced yesterday that electronics being brought aboard flights operating from or within the USA will be subject to additional scrutiny at security check points.
In the coming days and weeks, a new measure will be rolled out at airports that requires passengers to take out any electronics larger than a Smart Phone, and place them in a separate bin at security checkpoints. This includes items such as laptops, tablets, walkmans ( 🙂 ), any kind of camera, or camera lens.
This new process is not unlike what we’ve been accustomed to for years when it came to our laptops.
As I said the title of this post, things could have been much worse. Only a few short weeks ago we were staring at the spectre of having to put all electronic items larger than a phone into checked bags. I’ll settle for this new policy anytime if it means keeping my gear with me.
By the way, for those of us enrolled in TSA’s PreCheck, fear not, we don’t have to take anything out of our bags so it’s business as usually for us in that respect. This policy does not apply to us.
One of my favorite airports is getting a facelift…..
Earlier this month, an 18-year long project kicked off that will add a much needed runway to Hong Kong Int’l Airport (HKG). The construction began after years of regulatory process and public protest, going back to 2008.
The plans call for a parallel runway to compliment the 2 existing East-West runways. The new expansion will include the reclamation of land to the north of the airport that will take at least 4 years. At that point, the existing northern most runway will be modified to act as a center runway and the construction of a 3rd runway will begin. Up to 3 new passenger concourses will also be built that will link by rail to the existing concourses.
A new northern runway complex goes online in 2024
It looks like the southern runway will become a dedicated Cargo runway since it is adjacent to Hong Kong’s Cargo ‘city’ thus freeing up the existing north runway and the planned new runway to handle passenger traffic.
For planespotters, it means the favorite spot by the fire-boat dock by the maintenance facilities won’t be as good when the 3rd runway opens since it will take traffic at least 1/2 mile further away from the vantage point, but I suspect the new concourses will make up for the lack of views from the docks.
The new look of HKG….rendering courtesy of Hong Kong Airport Authority
The construction will last until 2024 and financing for the HK$142 billion ($18.3 billion USD) project is comprised of funds from the Government, Airport revenue and a series of new surcharges that passengers are already being assessed if they travel to OR through the airport. First Class and Business Class passengers on long haul flights will pay HK$180 ($23.00 USD) while long haul Economy passengers will pay $HK160 ($20.50 USD). Short haul Economy Class passengers will pay HK$90 ($12.00 USD) while transiting passengers regardless of class will pay HK$70 ($9.00 USD).
The following video provides a simulated look at what the expansion will look like once complete:
Earlier today the German Federal Administrative Court gave its blessing toward the building of a much needed and much debated 3rd runway at Munich Airport.
The court ruled in favor of the airport after hearing arguments from Bundes Naturschutz, a nature conservancy group in Bavaria. The court also dismissed other private complaints filed against the building of the new runway. From what I gather, this was the last major legal hurdle that needed to be cleared ahead of planning the construction.
The runway, which would be built on the north side of the field will run parallel to MUCs other 2 runways and will be a major compliment to the new terminal that is set to open next year.