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"Secure Flight"

Gender, date of birth to be required when booking flight

Aug 12, 2009

TSA is about to require airline passengers to provide even more personal information when booking flights.

The second phase of the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA’s, Secure Flight Program will begin Aug. 15 and will require travelers to give their date of birth and gender when purchasing tickets.

The first phase began in May after most airlines began requesting a passenger’s name as it appears on government identification.

“The whole goal is to provide ‘watch list’ matching to ensure that we don’t have suspected terrorists or someone who has connections to terrorists boarding the … flight,” TSA spokeswoman Lara Uselding said.

The program also will prevent misidentification of passengers who might have similar names to those on government watch lists.

“It will help those passengers that may have names similar to individuals on the no-fly list,” said Nicole Noll-Williams, director of regional market development for the Capitol Region International Airport.

Providing more information would be easy and useful, especially if it protected air travelers, sociology senior Emily Christensen said.

“If it makes things go smoother (at check in), then I’m all for it,” she said. “I think that it might make things quicker and easier once you do check in.”

Airlines have been gearing up for the changes as travelers will be asked to provide more information when booking flights within, into, or out of the country.

“We have been working with the TSA to align all the secure flight requirements,” said Susan Elliott, a Delta Airlines spokeswoman. “We are anticipating a smooth transition.”

Passengers should not be inconvenienced by the changes, Uselding said.

“The biggest change for most passengers will be providing additional information when booking a reservation for air travel,” she said.

When a passenger books a flight, it will go through matching procedures to confirm the passenger is not on a watch list, Uselding said.

The system hopefully will decrease the number of false matches, she said.

“The Secure Flight is a behind-the-scenes program,” Uselding said. “(It) is a phased-in process that will take place over the course of the next year.”

Gender, date of birth to be required when booking flight

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