TSA Testing ID Only, No Boarding Pass Required to Go Through Security at Four Airports

The TSA has all of your travel data before you fly. They compare who they think you are against their error-prone No Fly List, which denies people the right to travel without any due process hearing.

So it’s strange in a way that they need your boarding pass when you go through security. Once you’ve identified yourself they can match your ID to their secure flight database and they already know your travel plans.

At PreCheck lanes at four airports — Washington National, Washington Dulles, Chicago O’Hare, and Austin — TSA is now testing scanning your ID and not your boarding pass.

Pre-check passengers just need to hand their photo ID to the TSA agent at the security checkpoint. A boarding pass won’t even be required. Then, the TSA agent will scan the passenger’s ID in the credential authentication technology system. The technology is expected to verify the authenticity of the document and cross-reference against the Secure Flight database.


    Kim Jong Un Tours Security In the Pyongyang Domestic Terminal

If you believe that the TSA knows who the terrorists are in advance (yet doesn’t have them arrested) then it’s important to check their ID and make sure they aren’t using fake documents. TSA believes this new effort “will enhance detection capabilities for identifying fraudulent documents at the security checkpoint.”

The plan is to roll this out at other airports as well this month.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Airlines should take TSA’s lead and eliminate the unnecessary boarding pass. Your enhanced drivers license has all the info they need to match you to your PNR.

  2. Ken A, airlines were doing that until the BP was required by TSA. Delta used to let you board with your SkyMiles card. I think AS had something similar too.

  3. @Ken A: “Airlines should take TSA’s lead and eliminate the unnecessary boarding pass. Your enhanced drivers license has all the info they need to match you to your PNR.”

    Which is all well and good if you live in one of the five states that issues the enhanced driver’s license.

  4. How are airport officials supposed to know if someone should be allowed to use the Pre-check lane, if they aren’t required to present a BP that says TSA PRE?

  5. @Rob they should be trained to recognize that I’m just better than the huddled masses and therefore belong in the precheck line

  6. This is not current. As of last week TSA was no longer doing this at IAD. Agent told me the test was over and was being evaluated. Used it about a month ago. Still need to show boarding pass to get into pre-check line.

  7. @Matt You’re only better than the huddled masses if you don’t buy Basic Economy. Pretty soon they’ll figure out a way to take Precheck away from BE customers to “provide enhanced value” to non-BE customers.

  8. Did this last Thursday at O’Hare. Didn’t seem to go any faster or slower than showing the boarding pass

  9. Will this actually make the process more efficient versus TSA better managing lines? They sure could learn a thing or two from how Trader Joes and Whole Foods handles rush hours in NYC.

    What I find frustrating is when you’re deep in the queue as they open up additional lines and reroute people lined up behind you into it, thus speeding them past as you stand around still waiting and cursing yourself because you had to drink that last latte and now have to hit the restroom.

  10. Problem if your driver’s license doesn’t match your ticket EXACTLY. For example, if your ticket doesn’t have your middle name but your DL does…
    Just ran into this at IAD. No one seems quite up to speed yet. Since all of my other travel docs are wo middle name, looks like I get to try to have the DMV issue a license w/o my middle name.. that will be easy, I’m sure….:(

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