My sister in law is going nuts because she lost her ID and has to fly. HELP.

Hey all,
So my sister just called me in a complete frantic freakout because sis in law (we’ll call her N) lost her wallet (or it was stolen.) They both have to fly next Tuesday. My sister is having surgery and won’t be allowed to do it if she doesn’t have a companion with her, they’re both going completely nuts. I’m trying to tell sis (we’ll call her C) that N can go and get a new drivers license on Monday, I’ve had to do it, it’s not that hard, this happens all the time, etc etc etc., but I don’t think it’s getting through.

It would help a lot of people would share their experiences of what happened when they lost an ID and then had to fly a few days later. SOMEBODY out there must have had this happen… what kind of ID did you need in order to get the new license at the DMV? When I’ve had to do it, I’ve had a passport, but N’s is more than 10 years old. How can she prove her identity?? Sis is convinced that the TSA won’t let N fly with a temporary paper drivers’ license. this CAN’T be true… right? I think the insanity is starting to get to me too!!

Anyway… any info is much appreciated. :slight_smile:

Since the laws and procedures for getting a drivers license are completely different in each state, it would help if you would tell us which state she is in.

I lost my ID inside the airport on the day of travel. The TSA agent said I could provide 2 forms of alternate ID. I asked “what’ll you take?” And so I boarded an aircraft after identifying myself with a Costco AMEX card (bearing my photo) and a prescription bottle of Hydrocodone with my name on it.

Long story short… there’s probably an easy answer, just call the airline and explain your situation.

And where she’s flying to/from? Internationally?

Perhaps contact the hospital, get them to fax you a letter, verifying the surgery story and the necessary companion wouldn’t hurt.

Does she have a passport? Wouldn’t that work just as well? Just a thought!

I was in the same situation about 15 years ago. I straightened it out on Monday and left without issue on Tuesday. Since then whenever I have moved I’ve got a new license with my new address and kept the old one as a spare. I have an extra in my glove box, under my motorcycle seat, in my backpack, and a few in my closet.

(Arizona drivers licenses are valid until you’re 65 :D)

And now, one of Those Inspiring Stories that Makes You Regain Your Faith In All Humanity:

Sis just called me. Someone found N’s wallet and brought it to the police station in Lincoln City. Apparently, they waited half an hour to turn it in and didn’t even leave their name. All of the cash was still in it. :slight_smile:

Although the actual situation has been resolved, I’m going to move this to IMHO so people can share experiences.

General Questions Moderator

All right. A friend of mine, traveling from LA to Chile, managed to lose her driver’s license in the airport, somewhere between the first time she had to show it and the second time she had to show it. She did have her passport. She got to Chile and she got back.

About a year later her daughter did the same thing, flying from LA to New York, with a change of planes in … Minneapolis? Now the only problem was she had a three-hour layover there and went out to smoke, which meant she had to go through security again. She managed to get on her plane back to college but she had to talk to three or four increasingly important people and it took awhile. She did have debit cards, college ID, & other stuff. Not her passport, though.

It probably didn’t hurt that she was a cute little blonde.

That’s great! Less dramatic, but we had a fun experience a couple of years ago – a friend at the airport out west dropped a card he had started writing to my father and someone found it and mailed it on their own dime (the envelope had been addressed).

Something somewhat similar happened to me in Hawaii - since I was only going on a day trip on an island-hopper, I didn’t really think of it as travel, and so made none of my usual preparations. I didn’t take my passport, because why would I carry it and risk it being stolen?

My driver’s license was in the middle of being replaced (I don’t need corrective lenses anymore, so I had started the process of getting a new one that didn’t have that restriction), and all I had was a paper temporary license.

I realized while standing in line for security that I might be screwed, but everything turned out fine. They weren’t willing to accept just the paper temporary license, but they did accept the license backed up with a couple of additional IDs from my wallet (credit card, membership cards, etc.) and my explanation for why I was flying with such limited ID. They just put me through extra security - shoe removal, pat down, etc.

Coming home that evening was the same process - no problem as long as I explained the situation, shared the ID that I did have available, and went through the extra security process.

Some years ago I escorted my elderly aunt on a flight. She had no current passport, but I had a letter from the care home and her very old - 60 years old IIRC but I’m not sure - passport. All the officials cooed over the old passport.

Per the TSA, you may be allowed to fly domestically without ID. Just be aware that you may (and probably will) be subjected to additional security and pat downs.

(Added link is mine)

Be polite and explain the situation. The TSA has been through this many times before.

My son was on a travel soccer team that flew as a team frequently. On one trip one of the kids lost his ID. He was pulled aside and they got someone on the phone who asked him questions like the names of his neighbors and how many kids they had.

I’m sure he got the full pat down etc., but ultimately he was allowed to fly home with no ID.

After a wild night in Las Vegas, I could not find my driver’s license for an early morning flight. I showed them my work ID as well as credit cards. The TSA person then had me answer the ‘challenge questions’ that are provided by one of the credit reporting agencies. What address have I lived at in the past ten years, father’s middle name, who financed a car loan, etc. They did the full pat down screening as well.

When this happened to me I was flying from my hometown back to where I was living at the time. I can’t remember all the details, but one of the options I had involved going to the administrative office of the public school district I graduated from to get paperwork to prove my identity.

Pretty cool, actually, that they still had that stuff. Plus I got to see my immunization record from when I started kindergarten.

Story from last winter, as read in a magazine. A pole vaulter was flying home from a meet. She had lost her ID somewhere. At the airport, she explained it and was asked for alternate ID. She had a copy of the recent Track and Field News that had her on the cover. She was good to go.

My wife and I booked a cruise to Southeast Asia leaving from Singapore, and were flying out two days early, as is our standard practice. That way we could see the city-state, and also account for any lost luggage issues with the airline. My wife had five months left on her passport before it expired, but it was only a 10 day cruise, so no problem there, right? And that’s where the fun started…

Turns out that many countries (including Singapore) require you to have a minimum of six months left on your passport to enter their country. So imagine our surprise when we went to check in for our flight and were told my wife couldn’t get on the plane. Naturally this was a common problem they face all the time, so they told us they would re-book us for the next day’s flight and to make arrangements to go to the passport office first thing in the morning for an emergency passport. They even advised us to get the passport photos that same night at a 24 hour FedEx/Kinkos. While it was a very stressful few hours, we woke up, were the first ones in line at the passport office, and then slept while they processed it, picked it up, and got on the plane the next day without issue. Both the airline and the passport office were surprisingly nice about it, and while they could have charged us all kinds of last minute fees, they didn’t. The airline re-booked us free of charge, and the passport office even charged the normal (versus expedited) fee. Hell, they could have charged us thousands of dollars extra and spit in our faces, and I would have still happily accepted it to get us on that plane.

I gather these countries are worried you might be detained for a criminal matter or legal issue, and they want to make sure you don’t have an illegal immigration issues as well, which is why they require it. My only dumb question, why is this not advertised anywhere? Neither the airline nor the cruise company told us this about Singapore, even though we had to provide our passport numbers and the expiration dates well in advance when we booked with them. Perhaps it was in the fine print, but I would think you would want alarm bells to go off if the date of travel and expiration are less than six months apart. Likewise, the passports themselves could be set to artificially expire 6 months early by the State Department to prevent this and make you purchase a new one earlier, yet they don’t. So be forewarned to check for this if traveling internationally. We were leaving from Los Angeles where they have a passport office in Westwood at the Federal Building. Had we not accounted for the extra time at the start, or been in a smaller city without a passport office, we would have been royally screwed.

I think it is generally assumed that people just know this - like they know they need a passport to go to a foreign country. (It is not a Singapore thing, it is pretty universal.) But it definitely catches people out all the time (including me, or rather my son, one time). I don’t really fault the airline; they aren’t supposed to take care of you. IMHO, the cruise company should have said something, though - you are paying them to take care of you! It should be standard procedure for them to check the expiration dates when you provide the requested passport data.

You can find country-by-country information on visa and passport requirements on the US State Department web site.

The page for Singapore states: “To enter Singapore, you need a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date of your intended stay.”

I am currently debating whether I want to renew my passport before my September Europe trip because though the 3 countries I plan to visit only require 3 months, there are at least a couple of European countries which require 6 months. E.g. Italy. Mine will be valid for another 5 months in September. So I am thinking: while I don’t plan to travel to a country that requires 6 month validity, why limit myself?