If your legal name isn’t the one you go by in day-to-day activities, you might want to be sure to start using it for vacation travel plans. That’s because if your nickname is the one listed on your airplane ticket, you may not be able to board the plane. Why is that? Soon, the responsibility of checking passengers’ names against terrorist watch lists will be switched from airlines to the Transportation Security Administration and the TSA wants people to know if their name on their license or passport isn’t identical to the one on the boarding pass, they may end up grounded. Can you imagine the headaches this may cause as the transition takes place? If your name is David and your ticket says Dave, you may be missing your flight. And imagine the aggravation for women—including those who may have recently married or divorced and haven’t transferred paperwork yet (as often happens right after the wedding when you’re looking to fly away to a blissful honeymoon). Or take me, for example. My legal first name is Desiree. My friends call me Des. My family calls me DD. All 3 are commonly misspelled on my airline paperwork. What happens now if a travel agent spells Desiree with a “z” instead of an “s”? And let’s say they get my ticket right, but then misspell my 3 year old daughter Daly’s name (everyone throws in an “i” or an “e”). Will she have to stay behind while I am told to fly ahead? Will my ticket still be honored if I stay behind with my toddler? It sounds extreme, but I have to wonder. And here’s another thing. They’re also going to be asking for your birth date, so if you’re uncomfortable telling others exactly how many years you’ve been around, you’ll have to get over it. In this case, we’re told the intent is to make the watch list as accurate as possible. I know a woman or two who may just decide to drive instead of share that kind of coveted information. The target date to implement these changes is August 15, but not all the airlines are even equipped to add the information the TSA is requesting, whether it’s a middle name or a birth date, or both. I understand the point is to protect us and the TSA is looking to make things safe and more efficient. However, I’m thinking I’ll hold off on any air travel around that date and drive to my destinations until the kinks are all worked out and it’s smooth sailing, or flying, again.
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About Desiree Miller
Desiree Miller is a veteran television news journalist who loves to travel for business and pleasure. There are four children in her family, from 8 to 18, who have become travel experts, as well. She shares stories of inspiration, hope and humor on her site, www.StressFreeBaby.com. She specializes in video on her sites so that her readers can get as much of the experience as she does. She also maintains Bottles to Britches, an international premier baby planning business that helps overwhelmed parents figure out who and what they need to ease into life with a stress free baby-to-be and beyond, and organizes the Atlanta Baby and Child Expo each year.