By SUSAN STELLIN
The Transportation Security Administration is getting ready to take over responsibility from the airlines for checking passengers’ names against terrorist watch lists, and is advising travelers to start booking airline tickets using their full name as it appears on their driver’s license or passport.
Later this summer, the agency will also begin requiring airlines to ask passengers for their birth date and gender during the ticketing process, information the carriers will then transfer to the T.S.A. The goal is to help make the watch list matching process more accurate.
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Among the concerns raised by fliers are names with hyphens, foreign characters, spaces or just initials and people who have two middle names or have not fully adopted a married name.
“Nicknames are going to be one of the bigger issues,” conceded Paul Flanigan, a spokesman for Southwest, which aims to start collecting the Secure Flight data in October.
Currently, many airlines do not offer a place to supply a middle name when booking online, but for now, the message seems to be: If we don’t ask for it, you don’t have to tell us.
“We’re telling customers, do business with us as you’ve always done,” said Kent Landers, a Delta spokesman. “When the systems are ready to accept the data, we’ll advise passengers.”
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Secure Flight Program; Final Rule: