Flying without ID

I lost my last piece of valid ID the weekend before thanksgiving, and so got stuck flying without ID to and from Texas to see my grandparents. I was nervous before hand, so I shoved every piece of offical and unoffical documentation I had in my luggage. I had photocopies of the lost ids, my social security card, my birth certificate, expired passports and miltary ids... basically everything.

When I went to get on the flight at SFO in San Francisco they looked at my checkcard which has a very fuzzy picture on it from high school and my miltary id which expired 14 years ago. They guy checking ID said it was better than just a driver's license and I didn't get any extra screening.

On the way back from Texas I ran into a little bit more trouble. The lady checking IDs told me I really should have returned the expired ID to the government and requested my health insurance card in addition to the check card and military ID. After that I was pulled aside for additional special screening. Talking with the lady doing the screening however I found out I'd gotten the new enhanced pat down due to wearing a floor length skirt, and not due to any issues with ID. As a note the lady doing the pat down was suprisingly profesional and seemed somwhat embarsed to have to do this to people. Quite a neat lady in general.

In conclusion: Flying without valid government issued ID is not an issue, though the standards are inconsistant. Skirts are much more of an issue.


  1. Yep! I have done the same - with a CMU ID and a PNC check card without a picture on it. Got through fine numerous times. In fact, at PIT, the CMU ID/PNC combination was better understood by the TSA screeners than the newfangled EAD card issued by the DHS when I was on my OPT. The conversation usually went along the lines of:

    "What is this? Is this real? Who issued this?"
    "An employment authorization card. Yes. You guys did."
    "??? Us?"
    "It say DHS on it."
    "Huh.. never heard of it. Let me get a supervisor."
    "Here is a CMU ID and a debit card."
    "Oh ok.. move on."

  2. Interesting.. Google seems to have remembered my old smallninja handle even though I deleted that blog a while ago. I guess lingering info trips us up as much as it trips normal users.