Airlines will ask birthdates for new TSA program

Don’t be surprised if you’re asked to provide your date of birth and gender when booking plane tickets later this summer.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has launched a new program called “Secure Flight” to improve security and reduce misidentification of passengers who have names similar to individuals on government watch lists.

As part of Secure Flight, airlines will ask passengers buying tickets to use their name as it appears on the government-issued identification they plan to use when traveling. Later this summer, airlines will also begin asking passengers to provide their birthdates and gender. The program is being phased in over 18 months. Some carriers are already collecting the new data, but others won’t be doing so until later this year.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy is among a number of passengers who have been subjected to extra searches and screening at U.S. airports in recent years because their names matched those on the U.S. government’s secret terrorist watch lists.

You can find more information about TSA policies and security rules at http://www.tsa.gov.

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