Are they going to think I'm a terrorist?
June 20, 2006 7:32 AM   Subscribe

Help me figure out whether I can fly in spite of the crazy Kansas DMV.

So I recently moved cross-country from Virginia to Kansas and started a new job, and getting all the assorted bureaucracy done has been a nightmare. Auto insurance, a prerequisite for getting my driver's license and car registration here, took multiple months to transfer thanks to the ball getting dropped somewhere in the process, but finally went through.

So I went to the DMV to get my Kansas driver's license, and after filling out all the paperwork and posing for my picture, they gave me a printed paper receipt with my new license information, photo and signature in lovely blurry black-and-white, and said "your permanent license will be mailed to you in one to three weeks".

I'm flying back East twice in the next three weeks, including once this weekend, and while I do have my old Virginia license, it's now invalid; the Kansas DMV guy cut the corner off it, and it didn't match the address on my ticket anyway.

Should I plan on arriving at the airport twelve hours early to deal with the interrogation and body-cavity search they'll give me when they see that my only "valid" ID is this piece of paper? Has anyone got a relevant experience to reassure me that I won't be automatically treated like a terrorist?
posted by ubernostrum to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total)
Do you have a passport? You can always take that as your photo ID.
posted by sbrollins at 7:35 AM on June 20, 2006

You could try going with no ID, like the subject of this article did. It just might work.
posted by tdreyer1 at 7:40 AM on June 20, 2006

my wife has flown post-9/11 with only a temporary driver's license.

I would bring any other photo IDs you have, along with our valid temp.

call the airline ahead of time and double check that you can fly with just the temp. then if someone gives you flak at the airport, you can be prepared with the company policy.

other people may have had problems before, so I am not pretending to have the final word on this, but I think you'll be fine.
posted by milarepa at 7:45 AM on June 20, 2006

how big of a corner did they cut? it seems like the airport probably wouldn't care if it was only a small portion.
posted by reverendX at 7:51 AM on June 20, 2006

Flying domestically? Don't worry about it, especially through MCI. Your temp license is a valid ID, I'm sure you're not the first one in this situation.
posted by geoff. at 7:53 AM on June 20, 2006

This Wired article shows that you don't actually need any ID to travel within the U.S.
posted by dripdripdrop at 8:03 AM on June 20, 2006

It's not the address that matters. It's the name. So your old license may work.

Besides, due to the tireless work of John Gilmore (at least I attribute it to him, could just be a loophole for these kinds of situations), it is possible to fly, if you'll submit to "secondary screening" at the airport.

My wife did this. She did not have her drivers license and was able to fly by showing two credit cards with her name on them. She was then subject to the "you didn't take all the metal out of your pockets" extra screening -- so nothing particularly scary about it.

You'll be fine. Bring your new temp license and your old license. And some credit cards, too.
posted by zpousman at 8:03 AM on June 20, 2006

It shouldn't be a problem. Even if your temp. license is defaced, you do not need ID to fly domestically.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 8:05 AM on June 20, 2006

FWIW, the Seattle DMV stuck me with a toy license when I switched over and I got the real one in the mail two days later. My girlfriend's license took a week to get to her. It's a different state and different bureaucracy and all, but you may get lucky and not have a problem. It was worse for me as I had a CDL at the time and wasn't allowed to keep my old license as a backup.
posted by stet at 8:08 AM on June 20, 2006

I'm aware of the Gilmore suit and the "official" word that you can fly without ID, but "official" policies seem to be inconsistently enforced; otherwise Gilmore wouldn't have had grounds to bring the suit in the first place.

I'll definitely be calling ahead to the airline, though; that's a good idea.

geoff: I'm not worried about MCI, since I'm sure they see the temporary Kansas licenses all the time. I am worried about airports back east never having seen one of these and getting suspicious.
posted by ubernostrum at 8:31 AM on June 20, 2006

I can confirm you do not need photo ID. An acquaintance deliberately chose not to show ID at any point upon walking into the airport.

He was whisked to the front of the very long security line, through the metal detector. They wanded his bag, him again, patted him down, and sent him to the gate. He told me it was a lot faster than waiting in line with all the other "suckers".
posted by Pastabagel at 8:32 AM on June 20, 2006

My wife has done this same thing. Her old license plus the receipt of the pending new one was sufficient for her to get through security with no extra hassle. Don't worry.
posted by norm at 8:32 AM on June 20, 2006

My husband forgot his wallet at home and only discovered this when we got to Chicago-Midway airport for our flight to Las Vegas. The Southwest agent marked his boarding pass, and he got through the extra-security line at about the same time I got through the regular line.

However, our hotel in Las Vegas would not let him register without ID. They did allow me to register under my own name for room he had reserved and graciously let him stay there with me. Go figure!
posted by Joleta at 2:20 PM on June 20, 2006

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