How do you get home with an expired driver's license?
August 12, 2010 7:15 PM   Subscribe

Travel question: what do you do when your ID is expired?

I'm out of state for work travel. Upon arriving yesterday, I discovered that my drivers license expired last month. (I discovered this when Enterprise would not rent me a car).

Everything I see online says I have to have a "valid government issued ID" to fly. I got ON the plane yesterday with no problem. In the state where they issue my license, so presumably in a state where they know how to find the date on the id.

Am I going to be able to get home? I could get home in six hours by car, but I can't rent a car (the Enterprise lady seemed to think I could get some kind of temporary license from the police and get a car from some company that was NOT Enterprise).

I tried calling the airline, they were not helpful with my hypotehtical, and I was not going to tell them who I was in the event that triggers some kind of "don't let her fly" event.

I'm in Missouri, flying out of STL, if that helps. I supposed I should have had my husband overnight my passport, but I was too busy with work to think about it.

Please tell me I can go home!
posted by dpx.mfx to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total)
You will probably get pulled out for extra screening, but you'll be able to fly.
posted by sugarfish at 7:28 PM on August 12, 2010

considering how easy it is to fly without an ID, you'll be fine. Perhaps some extra screening, MAYBE a phone call to verify your identity.

Enterprise denied you because they genuinely need you to have a valid drivers license. TSA probably won't notice.
posted by acidic at 7:37 PM on August 12, 2010

Response by poster: Huh. I just tried different search terms and came up with this:

Passengers who do not or cannot present an acceptable ID will have to provide information to the Transportation Security Officer performing Travel Document Checking duties in order to verify their identity. Passengers who are cleared through this process may be subject to additional screening.

I had no idea it was possible to fly without identification. That seems..... really stupid. They took away my hand lotion, but they'll let me on a plane with no id?

Oh well, I'm just anxious to get home and this trip has not gone well, so I'm expecting to get pulled out, screened, and whatever else. I'll get to the airport extra early, ensuring that I will, in fact, have no problem at all.
posted by dpx.mfx at 7:42 PM on August 12, 2010

You're fine. Don't stress out.

I renewed my drivers license a few months after it expired and had to fly domestically before my sparkly new license (with holograms!) arrived in the mail.

I gave the security person my expired license, with the DMV's temporary paper license underneath. SP noticed the date, told me my ID was expired, and launched into a rote request for another form of identification with my name on it, such as a credit card. I slid the temporary license out from under the defunct version; its presence made SP look at me with new and grateful eyes. But even if I hadn't provided that extra layer of govt-sanctioned ID, my Visa card would have worked fine.

Just show your expired license and be prepared to produce some backup. Nothing at all to worry about!
posted by dogrose at 7:43 PM on August 12, 2010

I flew with an expired license from Los Angeles to Bloomington, IL. The LAX security noticed the punched license and had to call for a supervisor--the supe asked if I had "anything like a Costco card or anything else with your picture on it." I did, so I showed them the Costco card and they let me on. The TSA at Bloomington didn't even blink and let me right on. You'll be fine.
posted by tybstar at 8:13 PM on August 12, 2010

Not a big deal- just get to the airport early. I had my wallet stolen the day before I was scheduled to fly home once, and I called the airline. All I had to do was arrive early, explain my situation, and then they did a careful search of my bags before they issued my boarding pass. I would just plan on showing the expired ID, but have back-up at the ready and leave a little extra time in case they want to search your stuff.
posted by emd3737 at 9:27 PM on August 12, 2010

One great advantage of Hertz #1 Club Gold: They email you when your driver's license is about to expire. ;)
posted by wierdo at 12:15 AM on August 13, 2010

A few years ago - 2003, in fact - I was in a similar situation - my ID card (state ID, not a DL) had expired while I was mid-trip (traveled to Denver). When I checked in, the agent at the counter pointed this out to me, and I admitted that I hadn't realized it. She was nice, put the SSSS on the boarding pass and told me I'd have extra screening, so it was good I'd come early.

The extra screening was unpacking my laptop backpack, explaining stuff in it (back then, for example, I still had my Visor and the sync cradle and most people didn't know what they were, nor a Nomad Jukebox 3). It took about fifteen minutes and they thanked me for taking the time and not being irritated.

I don't know if it's that different now, but I can't see it being THAT much different, as long as you don't act like it's a horrible, terrible, no-good very bad inconvenience that offends your soul (as some people seem to).
posted by mephron at 3:45 AM on August 13, 2010

I flew for 2 years with an expired license. I would hand the security person my license just like normal, they would look at it and say, "Your license is expired." Then I'd smile as sweetly and genuinely as I could and say, "I know! I'm going to the DMV as soon as I get back from this trip!" And then we'd both laugh because everyone hates going to the DMV, and they'd wave me on. Every single time.

Seriously, don't worry about it. They might pull you out for extra screening, but they probably won't even do that. You can definitely fly.
posted by (Over) Thinking at 6:24 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

I once got to the airport only to discover that I'd left my DL back at my brother's place. It was 5am, so calling him to run it over to me was not really an option.

After a slightly intense one-on-one with a TSA person, they let me get on the plane with a prescription for birth control pills that had my name and address on it (which I only coincidentally had on my person).

You should be fine - you're in better shape than I was, at least.
posted by Sara C. at 6:29 AM on August 13, 2010

That seems..... really stupid. They took away my hand lotion, but they'll let me on a plane with no id?

Usually it involves being personally screened by an agent. When this happened to me, I was lucky because I was flying home after visiting family for the holidays. I could say "look, I'm from [x nearby town], I've been here for Christmas, I was just sleeping on my brother's couch in [neighborhood] in my jeans and my license must have fallen out of my pocket..." I was heading home to New York in time for a New Year's Eve party I was attending with my boyfriend, and then back to work, so I could easily explain that end of things, too. All in a way that would be really comfortable and familiar to a security guard. I'm also an All-American white girl originally from the area I was flying out of (and it was a smaller regional airport), which probably also helped.

I'm pretty sure that if I was at JFK trying to fly to Los Angeles for no specified reason and I'd just arrived from Yemen the day before, and "coincidentally" didn't have a passport on me, it probably would have been damn near impossible to get on that plane.
posted by Sara C. at 6:36 AM on August 13, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone; I'm happy to report that I safe and sound at home. No one at the airport even noticed (or if they noticed, they didn't say anything). I also managed to sleep last night.

And, I drover from the airport to the BMV and had a new license in 10 minutes ($20 late fee!), so no more worrying about that!
posted by dpx.mfx at 11:28 AM on August 13, 2010

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