Airlines: Positive Identification?

This might sound like a stupid question, but, hey, I’ve never been on a plane, so I don’t know the protocol, and the TWA site was worthless.

Here’s my dilemma: I have a business trip coming up in about a month. My company is paying the fare for the flight. Departure and destination are within the USA. I’m a lifelong resident of New Jersey. Problem? I don’t drive; don’t have a license. The airline makes a point of saying passengers must provide “positive ID.”

The only forms of ID I can provide:[ul]Company ID (photo)
birth certificate (original)
social security card
selective service registration[/ul]
Will this be enough?

how do you cash checks?

mainly they want positive proof of who you are. If you’re really worried, call the folks at the terminal (do it now before the plane leaves)

in my state there’s a “State ID” which serves as ID for those who don’t drive.

Yes I believe most DMVs will issue IDs

A positive ID usually refers to a picture ID. A telephone call to TWA’s customer service number (the one in my phone book is 1-800-221-2000) should clarify things.
If this is your first trip on an airplane you may prefer an aisle seat.

My mother had this problem, she had given up driving and had no drivers’ license, and she got hassled every time she was on a flight. She finally applied for a state photo ID, and that was a hassel to get, too.

Call the airline – NOW! – and tell them about the situation, and see what they say. I don’t know if a corporate photo-ID will be sufficient, may depend on the company (how easy it is to be forged, for instance.)

The whole thing is a major pain in the butt anyway, you ask me. I mean, every kid in college can get a fake ID to show they’re over drinking age, so what’s the deal with the photo ID?

I’ve had this problem twice - but all I did was smile nicely and they let me on. I think my English accent may have helped too.

You could always take the train

I guess I’ll be going to the local DMV for a “non-driver ID.” TWA says they need a driver’s license or a state-issued ID, so there ya go. I hadn’t thought of calling them, see, 'cause the Travel Department at my company’s headquarters was supposed to be making all the arrangements.

Anyway, to address a couple of points:

Um, well, I don’t. Payroll check: direct deposit; NY State Tax Refund: direct deposit; NJ State Refund: deposited via ATM; dividends: automatically reinvested. Ain’t no other checks coming my way.

. . . And this is why I’ve never bothered with this crap before. It’s self referential nonsense. Hell, I’ve had no trouble getting served liquor since I was 16; I’ve never even needed an ID, fake or otherwise. And you know what the DMV apparently requires to issue a non-driver ID? Your birth certificate. Unless I’m misreading the NJ DMV site wrong, that’s all. What’s the bloody point?

I was thinking more of you paying by check or credit card, where they often ask for id. you use cash for everything? how do you keep track of your expenses? how would you make a withdrawl from the bank except for teller machines?
oh well. have fun where you’re going.

By the way, the travel dept in your company probably has never had an individual who DIDN’T have ID. Generally, the folks I know who don’t have ID, just got out of prison, have been homeless for a long time, and/or are under the age of 16. Rarely, in my experience does some one who’s got a responsible enough position at work that they’re sent somewhere at company expense, who doesn’t have one. oh well, live and learn

I don’t use personal checks to pay for purchases. I have several credit cards. I’ve never been asked for ID when using any of them. I do use the ATM for 99% of my bank business; the last time I dealt with a teller was before my comapny started direct deposit, when all I needed was my company ID (to cash my paycheck). All I needed to open the account, if I recall correctly, was my birth certificate and social security card (I think). I’ve never made a withdrawal from a human teller. Why would I?

And I can assure you I’m not:[ul]just out of prison,
under 16[/ul]While I can also say I definitely am:[ul]responsible enough,
convinced of the superfluous nature of this ID I’m about to endure long lines at the DMV in obtaining[/ul]

It quite simply is very possible to live a normal, fulfilling life without ever having had a state-issued ID. Ain’t life grand?

Sorry, wasn’t trying to imply that all folks w/o id were convicts etc.

I’m always grateful when folks ask me for ID when I use my credit card.

One of my clients, um, became one when he stole and used a credit card. Now, I really wondered about the folks who accepted it since: the card was made out to a woman’s name, and a heavily Germanic one at that, and the client was definately male and probably not Germanic. and they didn’t ask him for id.

Quixotic, it’s probably too late for your upcoming flight, but you might consider getting yourself a passport. It’s a valid photo ID and much more impressive than a licence, especially if you can eventually get a few visas from exotic foreign lands into it…

Meanwhile, just a wanted to recount a couple of silly stories involving photo ID’s.

I was standing in the passport line at Orly airport. The woman ahead of me was Yemeni, clothed head to toe in a chador, only her eyes visible. When she got to the passport control agent, I happened to see her passport picture. It was a front shot of her head, covered in a chador, only the eyes visible. The agent waved her through…

My own drivers licence is imprinted “Valid without photo”, as I was out of the country during the time scheduled for my appointment with the DMV photographer. Despite the fact that the licence is clearly official, it always flummoxes anyone who checks my ID. The most hilarious was a recent concert where ID’s were required of all patrons, who wanted to buy beer. Despite the fact that I’m 45 and look it, the kid checking the licence had to ask for his manager and they stood around and discussed it for several minutes before deciding I was in fact legal to have my 12 Oz of beer.

I’m sorry to be blunt, but this is fucking ridiculous.

A Photo ID is a 100% reasonable expectation. Snubbing your nose at the government and airlines for requiring it is just being a pain in the ass for the sake of spite. Its childish.

Sure you can get by day to day without one, but what exactly are you saving yourself?

The short answer is that you need a state/government issued photo ID. Drivers license, Passport, military ID etc. Go to the DMV and get a State ID card, its fast and easy, and you might be able to justify leaving work during the day (on the clock) to do it and avoid any lines. To get the ID card you’ll need the forms of ID you listed, and its going to make your life a hell of alot more flexible in the future.

The point is that the DMV (read: government) has the authority to place heavy federal charges on anyone misrepresenting themselves without photo ID, and the computer access to confirm specifics and details. The airlines don’t have the firepower to compell people to not decieve them.

Sheesh, calm down, Omniscient. As I said, I am going to the bleedin’ DMV for a non-driver license. Nobody’s snubbing noses at anybody. You said:

I agree. I have one. I am a bonded employee with a 12-year history at my firm, and have been issued two different photo ID’s by the company.

And what’s this rant about:

You see, as I’ve already explained, except for this specific instance, I don’t need the ID. I’ve managed almost 34 years on the planet without one, and have never had any reason to get one. Hell, before this came up, I didn’t even know the DMV issued non-driver ID’s. (And I’m not interested in using this as an excuse to get out of work - I don’t punch a clock anyway). If it’s not already apparent, I don’t travel much (if at all). If I never step foot on another plane, in exactly what ways will my life be made “more flexible” by this wonderful new accessory?

Hmm, well, maybe there is a point there. See, I’m thinking I show them my birth certificate, and maybe my social security card, and, bingo, I have my new state-issued non-driver ID. Now, I could show the airline the identical pieces of paper, along with the company (photo) ID issued by the firm which purchased the ticket, and for whom I have worked for 12 years. It just seems counter-intuitive to place a higher value on a more easily obtained form of identification.

If I’m understanding this point correctly, the state-issued ID is interpreted as a better form of identification because the government can and will take action against persons falsifying documents such as birth certificates in order to gain false ID’s. It occurs to me that someone with the wherewithal to construct a believable false birth certificate, and does so in order to get an ID to gain access to a commercial flight in order to commit sundry nefarious deeds is going to have much more to worry about than the forgery/false ID charge levied by the government.

Now, I’m not holding my breath until I turn blue while I wait for someone to say, “OK, you don’t have to.” I’m just wondering at the apparent bureaucratic redundancies of it all.

You think that’s bad, I’ve had places refuse to accept my employment photo-id, which is not only state issued ( since that’s who I work for), but also required a fingerprint check ( for my job, not all jobs). Much better proof that I am who I claim to be than the 6 “points” of ID the DMV uses. ( Different documents are worth a different amount of points, so that a birth certificate may be worth one point and a passport five or six.)Apparently some places only accept driver’s licenses or non-drivers ID no matter what.

Rocket88 is right on the money. Get a passport, even if you never leave your home town again. In my experience, it is the rocksolidest photo-ID a civilian can get. I’ve used mine maybe three times for overseas travel, but dozens of times as proof of identity – and it gets unflinching approval every time.

(BTW, if you want to get one before your upcoming trip, I know there are some walk-in passport offices that can turn one around in a day or two – you may need to prove you’re travelling overseas soon and can’t wait for the normal turnaround, though. Dunno.)

And besides, if you ever need to travel internationally on short notice, having a passport already will spare you the grief of having to get one in a rush.

According to Vin Suprynowicz, author of the article “I Watched the Bill of Rights dying last week,” the actual FAA security directive states only that ticket agents should ask to see your ID, not that they can prevent you from boarding if you refuse or don’t have any. If they don’t need your consent, then why are they asking politely? Given the fact that airline hijackings are extremely rare, I don’t see why it’s any of anyone else’s business whether you are able to show ID. Do they require this to ride on Greyhound? Amtrak? I understand why they need to see a license when you rent a car or re-enter the country, but not on a plane. Flame away.

Right on. While I agree that it doesn’t hurt to have identification, I think that it is also reasonable not to have one. I also do not have a liscence, if I do need to show id I usually have my passport, which is the best damn id ever. But as far as airlines go, I have flown quite a bit within the continental US showing any kind of ridiculous id’s like my old expired school id from france for instance, or anything else with your picture on it will get you by. So no worries, If you want to be safe get a passprot or ID card, but otherwise you shouldn’t have to sweat it.

I agree that it is counter-intuitive, but there are other factors at work as well. We do not live in a perfect world, and I have found that many of these sorts of idiosyncrasies can be better understood by admitting that the right and wrong are not the only factors the government looks at. Efficiency and expediency do count.

In your example, I have similarly wondered why so much value is placed on a birth certificate, given that there is no photo and several different people could establish ID with the same birth certificate. I think the answer is that by making us jump through several hoops by showing them the birth cert and getting the photo taken, the net result is that the driver’s license (or DMV-ID, in your case) is a more secure form of identification.

That’s my guess, anyway.

I’ve just come back from the DMV with my brand-new non-driver ID. Cheap ($6) and relatively painless (just had to sit around for about an hour). Although I’m still not convinced of its usefulness outside of the express purpose I got it (the upcoming flight), at least I do have it.

Keeve, you may have a point (and it may be the same point Omniscient was trying to make), but I gotta tell ya, it’s ridiculously easy. All I needed to show them was my birth certificate and my social security card. I could’ve been anybody.

Well, at least it’ll satisfy the airline (hey, I’m just trying to get to a freakin’ seminar, here, people - I’m not trying to “fight the power!”).

Now, watch me get on the damn plane without even having to show them ID. :slight_smile: