Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Mikhail Nilov
Lost Your ID Right Before Your Flight? Here's What To Do
Picture yourself preparing to coast through TSA to catch your flight only to realize your identification is missing in action. Travel woes are bound to happen but the instant anxiety that comes with losing your ID or passport can leave even seasoned travelers worried about how to proceed next.
Not to worry too much though. While the alternative is an inconvenient process, chances are you can still fly even if your government-issued photo ID is lost or stolen.
If you know before arriving at the airport that you’re without identification, plan to get there as early as possible. Passengers traveling without a form of identification will have to go through interviews with TSA officers to establish their identity.
Worth noting – most airlines do not refund tickets for travelers who missed their flights due to a lost ID.
What Do If You Have No ID
You’ll first want to explain your situation to an airline representative at the counter, Travel + Leisure reports. Be prepared to present additional forms of identification. Items such as a credit card, photo business card, student ID, or even mail or prescription medication with your name and address should work. If the airline representative is satisfied that you are who you say you are, they will issue a boarding pass with a note that you don’t have an ID.
Once you get to security, you should explain the situation to the TSA agents. An agent will likely take you to a second room for additional security screening.
“The TSA officer may ask you to complete an identity verification process which includes collecting information such as your name, current address, and other personal information to confirm your identity,” according to the TSA website.
If the agent can confirm your identity, you will be allowed to pass through security after additional screening.
The process for international destinations is a bit trickier, as individual countries decide whether travelers are allowed entry without identification. Travelers who lose their IDs abroad should immediately contact the nearest U.S. embassy for assistance in replacing their passports.
While it may be too late in certain cases, the best defense is always preparation. Obtaining a police report is important if your ID was stolen. A police report details when and where your identification went missing, for proof if needed, while also confirming your identity.
Travelers should always keep a photocopy or digital image of their identification easily accessible. Make sure to keep your digital copies in a secure location. Sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) before leaving for a trip. STEP is a free service that makes it easier to get help from the embassy while abroad.
And most importantly: Remain calm and courteous. Airline, security, and immigration employees are more likely to help get you where you need to go if you’re gracious in your interactions.