New data required for US travel

Anti-terrorist measure already mandated by some US airlines

The US Transportation Security
Administration will no longer accept passenger records that do not include
specific information as of 1 November.

The measure is part of the
Administration’s Secure Flight programme and is designed to allow it to screen
passengers against terrorist watch lists.

The programme, which came into
effect last year, is entering a new phase that requires airlines that fly to,
from or through US airspace to transmit Secure Flight Passenger Data on 100 per
cent of its passengers when a ticketed reservation on a flight is made.

The information includes a
passenger’s full name as it appears on the government-issued identification he
or she is using for travel; the passenger’s date of birth and gender; and a
Transportation Security Administration Redress Number, if applicable. It must
be provided at the time of ticketing regardless of how the booking is made.

Steve Pillar of Travel Pros in
Cayman said he received a notice from American Airlines Tuesday about the new
measure.  The notice said the Transportation
Security Administration allows no exceptions and that compliance is mandatory.

“Secure Flight data must be present
in a reservation no later than 72 hours before scheduled departure, when the
TSA match-list processing begins,” the American Airlines notice stated. “If a
reservation is made within 72 hours before the scheduled departure, [Secure
Flight Passenger Data] must be collected when the reservation is made.”

To ensure compliance, American
Airlines will change its Secure Flight Passenger Data collection process to
require the information at the time of ticketing by 15 September.  Without the required information, American Airlines
will block the issuance of a valid ticket.

The Transportation Security
Administration said in press release in June that “99 percent of passengers
will be cleared by Secure Flight to print boarding passes at home” by providing
the required information.

“Individuals found to match watch
list parameters will be subjected to secondary screening, a law enforcement
interview or prohibition from boarding an aircraft, depending on the specific
case,” the release stated.

The Transportation Security
Administration states on its website that the provision of the required
information would greatly reduce the number of passengers misidentified as a
match to the watch list.

“It is to the passenger’s advantage
to provide the required data elements, as doing so may prevent delays or
inconveniences at the airport, particularly for those individuals who have been
misidentified in the past,” it states.

Mr. Pillar said the requirement
should not cause too much of a disruption.

“It just creates a little more work
at the time of ticketing,” he said. “It’s something we’re going to have to get
used to.”

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More specific information will be required by the US for air travelers, starting 1 November.
Photo: File
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