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Re: airport security

> From: [email protected] (Futplex)
> DCF writes:
> [re: shwoing picture ID to board commercial flights in the U.S.]
> > I wonder how many have challenged this.  
> During the California-wide Unabomber scare a few months back (before the LAX-
> specific scare), someone on the list said they planned to test it at SJC. I 
> think it was Dana Orfeo. The trip report has never surfaced, though. 
> (Dana ?  Are you there ?)
[ Snip ]

I'm here.  And I apologize for failing to write the promised report.
In any case, better late than never...

I flew out of the San Jose "International" Airport (SJC) over the July 4th
weekend to visit a friend of mine.  Many of you may remember this weekend
corresponding with the California-wide Unabomber scare.

I flew on Delta airlines.  My intention was to create as much trouble as
possible with the I.D. bit, though to ultimately capitulate (if necessary)
as I _did_ want to get where I was going.

Private email from Futplex, quoted with permission:

> I suggest acting very innocently at the start, as though you don't suspect
> they might try to card you. Try just having some cash in your wallet --
> put anything that might conceivably identify you in a separate pocket, apart
> from the ticket itself. When they ask you for ID, mildly claim that you
> aren't carrying any. When they insist, show off your anonymous wallet. (You
> might want to claim that a friend dropped you off at the airport, and another
> friend is picking you up at the other end, to explain why you're not carrying
> a driver's license. Maybe you could say you'll be at a convention in a hotel
> for several days, and won't be leaving except walking or by taxi.)  Get them
> to explain very precisely just what gives them the legal authority to
> refuse you entry to the plane. (I'd be interested in hearing the answer
> myself !)  I expect this will work better if they're checking IDs at the
> gates, rather than the general X-ray/security post, so that you're dealing
> with plastic-smiled airline personnel.

I removed all picture identification from my wallet (my CA driver's license)
and packed away my U.S. passport (though I was not leaving the U.S.) deep
inside my luggage (just in case.)

I actually took a Taxi to the airport and was not planning on driving
at any time over the course of my trip.  I could actually truthfully
make these claims, which was useful as I'm not a very good liar.

Unfortunately, I arrived at the airport much later than I had intended.
I checked my bags at curbside, where I was asked for identification.  Not
wanting to miss my flight, I merely looked and acted miffed and dug my
passport out of my baggage.  I then put my passport back into my baggage,
which was then checked.

I hurried to the gate, where I discovered that the flight was delayed by
a good hour.  Damn.  If I had known that, I wouldn't have checked my bags
at the curb.  Oh well.

However, I hadn't been given a boarding pass and still needed to check in
at the gate for that.  Delta wanted I.D. again.  At this point, I was
actually not carrying any picture identification.

The plastic, smiling Delta employee behind the counter at the gate was
not happy, mostly because she looked to be having an otherwise rough day
and obviously didn't want to deal with anything out of the ordinary.

I told her that I had only a U.S. passport, and that it was in my already
checked baggage.  I was hoping the problem would be escalated to management,
where I could start asking about their legal authority for denying me
boarding privileges, but she (probably without authority) essentially said
"to hell with it" and gave me my boarding pass, adding a comment that
the rank-and-file Delta employees thought that the ID requirement was a
bad idea anyway.

There was no verification that I was telling the truth about having checked
my baggage (though I was) so that I could have actually gotten on the plane
without showing my identification.

I've flown twice since then (on SouthWest), without being asked for any

Dana W. Albrecht
[email protected]