The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is receiving criticism from airlines and travel agencies over its proposal to require even further passenger information. In addition to full names, the TSA would like passengers to provide age and gender with the supposed outcome that fewer travelers will be mistaken for terrorists in the future.
The TSA believes that this additional information will make background checks for travelers less of a hassle, and that will lead to fewer delays and confusion. The proposal would require airlines and travel agents to ask for a passenger’s gender and age, but travelers are not required to offer any new information. However, the TSA makes it clear that if you do not hand over your birthday and sex, then you’re likely to experience delays, extra screening, and possibly denied boarding.
Among those who feel that this new policy would be invasive and a waste of time include Continental and Virgin, the Air Transport Association, and the American Society of Travel Agents. Though these organizations oppose soliciting personal information, they raise little protest to requiring a full name. Low-cost carriers such as AirTran and Frontier are in support of the new system.
Both sides seem to make valid points, and this is not a clear-cut case of right and wrong. However, one does have to ask how much the TSA will take if we give them even an inch.
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