Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Government program with which AirTran will not let me comply

I kind of like that stilted title. Here’s what AirTran told me today:

"Recently, the Transportation Security Administration announced changes to their watch list matching process called Secure Flight. The mission of Secure Flight is to enhance the security of domestic and international air travel through the use of improved watch list matching. Another benefit will be greatly reduced incidents of passengers being misidentified with names on the TSA's watch lists.

"What does this mean for me? Starting today, when purchasing a ticket you will be required to provide your full first, middle and last name, exactly matching the valid government-issued ID you will present at the airport (e.g. driver's license, passport, etc.). Beginning August 15, 2009, you will also be required to provide your gender and date of birth when booking flights.

"How will I benefit?You will benefit from the Secure Flight program through improved security on all flights and reduced rates in misidentification of passengers who have similar names on the TSA watch list. Also, by updating your A+ Rewards profile information, you will experience a faster booking process.

"So what do I do?At AirTran Airways, we like to make flying as convenient as possible for all of our A+ Rewards members. We have added all of the TSA mandatory fields to your A+ Rewards member profile, so to ensure a quick and easy ticketing process, please update your profile today.Take a few minutes now to update your information and we'll take care of the rest, passing on the necessary information to the TSA every time you fly with us."

So, I have to give them the exact name found on my “government-issued ID” which includes my middle name. If you click the link to update your “information,” there is no place to put my middle name, nor my middle initial, which is on my drivers license. Also, there is no space to put my date of birth. There was a place for me to add “Mr.” to my profile as opposed to Ms., Mrs. and Doctor – no place to put male or female.

Why did Airtran lie, telling me they've added "all of the TSA mandatory fields" to my profile?

Am I done flying? Will I really experience a faster booking process? Since I’ve never been identified as someone on the watch list, will I see a reduced rate of my misidentification?

I'm thinking we have a left hand, right hand and third person hand disconnect. And everyone rags on TSA.

1 comment:

Jeni said...

Quite a quandry you presented here. Now, I'm wondering if say I were to try to become an A-AirTran passenger. If one is to list full name -first, middle, last and if that has to match up with ones ID, which in my case is my driver's license, then how would that be possible because my driver's license does not list my middle name -only and initial there. But then, as you pointed out, if there is no area where one can list that middle name or initial, we're right back to your original quandry, aren't we?