Using Consistent Name Avoids Airport Hassles

by Chris Bjorklund

As of last year, the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) started requiring airlines to collect certain information from all passengers. Under the Secure Flight Initiative, travelers now have to provide their full name, date of birth, gender, and a redress number, if they have one. (A redress number is for passengers who request a correction after having been repeatedly misidentified as being on the “No Fly” watch list.)

If you’re like many people, you go by different names—sometimes you’re Mary Rachel Smith, or you’re Mary R. Smith, or just Mary Smith. Small differences between your government-issued ID and your airline ticket shouldn’t impact your travel. However, to avoid problems, use the exact same name that appears on your ID to make your flight reservation. The TSA encourages you to update the name on your frequent flier accounts too, then use this same format consistently for everything travel-related.