Will an expired license prevent me from flyiing to oregon
July 24, 2010 5:06 AM   Subscribe

I have a flight tomorrow morning and just found out that my Driver license is expired. Will this prevent me from getting through the airports.

Will this prevent me from getting through the airports. Is there anything I should bring or do if TSA sees this? I don't have a passport, but do have a social security card. I've read other posts about this but most of them were about a year old or more, so I don't know if things have changed. I'm going to have one stop over in Ft. Worth airport, am I going to bee screened again?
posted by sharkhunt to Travel & Transportation (20 answers total)
HUUUUUUUUUUGE YMMV on this one, but: I've flown multiple times in the past two years without ID, because I'm an idiot and forget things like, oh, my wallet. You CAN travel without ID, it's just a matter of finding a gate agent/TSA screener who understands that. If they give you flack at checkin, ask to speak to a TSA agent (ideally the "boss") about your situation. Typically they just subject you to extra screening before you can get behind security - be prepared for them to rifle through EVERYTHING. You shouldn't get screened again at DFW, provided you don't leave the secure area.

Note that this was always with carryon only - not sure how a checked bag might affect this.
posted by um_maverick at 5:20 AM on July 24, 2010

They might not even notice. If they find out, you will probably be ok, as long as everything else is in order. If your other documents are questionable or incomplete, you are probably screwed.
posted by twblalock at 5:24 AM on July 24, 2010

How long has it been expired for? If it's a short term expiry, you can certainly act surprised and get off with a warning (I have.)

If it's months since it expired, you're likely to get, at a minimum, a hassle and extra screening. I would arrive very early for your flight and find someone who can help you right away to minimize the chance you'll miss your flight.
posted by Hiker at 5:30 AM on July 24, 2010

You will probably be ok. Allow extra time in case you get additional screening.
posted by procrastination at 6:28 AM on July 24, 2010

Response by poster: It's been expired for about 2 months. Is there any particular documents I should bring to help with the screening. Unfortunately I don't have a copy of my birth certificate with me here.
posted by sharkhunt at 6:48 AM on July 24, 2010

A passport of course would work, but only if you already have one.

Your DMV might have Saturday hours, and you might be able to get the "temporary" license today.
posted by stevis23 at 6:50 AM on July 24, 2010

In America, ID is not "required" to fly. Under the TSA's rules, if you present yourself at the checkpoint without ID and are "cooperative" (i.e., you don't act like one of those civil-liberties zealots who is trying to assert a right to travel without ID, but instead act very contrite, penitent, and submissive), then the staff at the checkpoint will ask you some personal questions to verify your identity (they will place a phone call to a third-party contracted data broker to check this information), and then they'll let you go on your merry way, acting like they've done you a huge favor.

With an expired ID, as others have pointed out, YMMV based on the whims of the TSA staff, from a warning, to a hard-nosed "your identification is not valid." But even in the worst case of your ID being considered invalid, you'll get through with only a few minutes of delay as long as the TSA staffers are happy with your attitude.
posted by Dimpy at 7:12 AM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I lost my license when i was traveling one time. They just took me aside for the extra screening. Bring credit cards or anything else with your name on it. I think it is up to the screener, but I'm sure this is not an infrequent occurence. Just make sure everything else is in order - no large jugs of shampoo in your carry on, etc.
posted by munichmaiden at 7:19 AM on July 24, 2010

Happened to me. The ticket agent then marked my ticket agent for extra "no license/expired license" screening. It was a minor hassle, and I flew.
posted by mreleganza at 7:41 AM on July 24, 2010

Yeah I've flown with expired ID before post-911. The biggest problem wasn't TSA - it was renting a car on the other side. No reputable place will do it, so I had to go to like a 3rd tier place, i.e. some local place you've never even heard of, and pay like triple.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:50 AM on July 24, 2010

Nthing that it might not even be noticed. Due to a maiden/married name screw up, I once went through security with different names on my ticket and ID, and nobody asked me about it.

So act normally, and you could get through without any trouble. If they do notice, just happen to be prepared with other identifying information.
posted by kalanchoe at 7:53 AM on July 24, 2010

DO NOT leave the secure area at DFW. I did once in order to deal with a cancelled connection, and, coming back through, they pulled me aside in order to test my watch band for explosives. A regular cloth watch band. . .My point being that they can make anything up at DFW.
posted by Danf at 8:08 AM on July 24, 2010

When I flew recently the person in front of me used prescription medication and a grocery store saver's club card as support IDs for a licence that was more than a year expired. The TSA guard called over a supervisor, but it was only a minute or so delay, no problems.
posted by cjemmott at 8:09 AM on July 24, 2010

I can tell you with great confidence that it will be fine. YMMV, especially based on racial profiling. (I'm white.) But I flew on an expired DL for about six months. Airports that accepted my expired ID included LAX, Oakland, Chicago, Orange County, and Ontario, a few repeatedly. Maybe twice they pointed it out, and at least once more, they noticed. I began to believe that they accepted expired DLs as a policy.

If you want to be extra-secure, you could prepare yourself as though you were flying without any photo ID. The advice people give about that process is to bring anything at all with your name and picture on it (YMCA card? student ID?), bring some credit cards, bring some delivered mail, bring a signed copy of your tax returns. Leave yourself an extra half hour, and whatever you do, do not argue or be belligerent with the security screeners because while it's not illegal to fly without ID, it is illegal to refuse to show ID. (This is just what I read on the Internet.)

But that's advice you will not need, because you will almost certainly sail through security just like everyone else.
posted by slidell at 8:53 AM on July 24, 2010

nthing that I have done this before when I misplaced my license. Arrive early, expect to have your person and bag searched and bring as many cards that have your name/picture on them. I flew for a couple of weeks with a Costco card as my only picture ID. An expired license should work fine.

If you get questioned and pulled aside due to this, be polite and apologetic. Admitting you are an idiot seems to go over well with TSA. This happens a lot and while they might appear exasperated at you, they just want to keep the line moving. Whatever your opinion of the rules are, the goal is to get on the plane, so roll with it and you should be fine.
posted by sciatica at 9:36 AM on July 24, 2010

I flew with only an expired license last year. They marked me for extra screening because I was "without ID". I was polite and cooperative, and my extra screening lasted about 5 minutes. No big deal.

Although, as I think about it -- I do look about as non-threatening as one can get, so that might change things...
posted by jenmakes at 10:06 AM on July 24, 2010

I flew with a recently-expired license last week, and was called on it on three of the four flights. Wouldn't count on breezing through unnoticed. On the other hand, I had both my voter registration card and a photo ID (from work), and the combination got me through every checkpoint without extra screening.
posted by ormondsacker at 2:21 PM on July 24, 2010

I flew on an expired license the day the shoe bomber was caught. Act surprised if they notice the expiration and be friendly and cooperative as possible.
posted by mmascolino at 2:29 PM on July 24, 2010

Hearing the responses of everyone who has flown with an expired id has me slightly concerned about TSA staff at the Austin airport. Last year, I renewed my driver's license before flying out. Although I had the piece of paper with my renewed license info, I was able to get by security with my old ID. That ID had been clipped in the corner to note it's no longer valid..
posted by vilandra at 2:57 PM on July 24, 2010

A few years ago, my wife and I were flying home after a wedding. Dulles -> JFK, should've been very normal - except that the screener pointed out she had an expired license. She had to get additional screening, but was also made to trek back to the ticket counter of the airline we were flying to get a new "I need extra screening" ticket.

So I would just make sure you give yourself some additional time pre-flight in case you're made to jump through some extra (arbitrary) hoops.

(Amusingly, I think that because the extra screening line was shorter than the regular line, we got through security at about the same time.)
posted by Remy at 6:54 PM on July 24, 2010

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