Im going to kill him.
December 30, 2006 4:21 PM   Subscribe

Flying without ID (CA to OR)?

So, my boyfriend - bless his heart, grrrrrrr - lost his California ID last night. Cant find it. Doesnt have a social security card, birth certificate, nothin. Only the credit card on which the tickets were purchased, and our itinerary. We fly San Diego to Portland on the 11th. Are we screwed? I'm sure we cant get him a new ID by that time... right?

I called American Airlines, and they said he might get pulled over for a secondary inspection, but if he gets on the plane or not is determined by the airport at the time. Anyone gone through this?

Im so worried. Not being able to get into bars is one (lame) thing, but this is worse.
posted by fillsthepews to Travel & Transportation (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This guy managed to get on a plane with only a credit card (and some minor hassling).
posted by Robot Johnny at 4:36 PM on December 30, 2006

Look into getting his CA ID replaced as soon as possible. California lists the proof of identity requirements on the DMV's website. Once he has the documentation lined up, it may take a few hours of waiting in the DMV's office, but he will be able to get it that day.

Now, one of the requirements is to have his birth certificate. To get his birth certificate on such short notice, assuming he is unable to get it from his parents, he'll probably have to use a service like Vital Check. California's DMV site linked above kindly has a list of phone numbers to all the birth certificate offices of each state. You can either call that state's office or check that state's government website. They will direct you to the service they work with so you can expedite getting the certificate. Be prepared to pay through the nose for the service to get you a certified copy as quickly as possible.

When my husband needed his birth certificate for a passport, we searched on "(state name) birth certificate", identified the service provider by finding the vital records link and ordered the document. It was FedExed to us. If I remember correctly, we had to pick it up from FedEx since the document required our signature to receive it. I don't remember the exact cost, but it was more than $60 for a piece of paper. I believe we had it within 5 days.

Good luck.
posted by onhazier at 4:39 PM on December 30, 2006

I just did this with my 18-year-old foster son, who also lost his California ID prior to our Xmas travel. We brought his birth certificate (as well as his MediCal card). He got through fine -- they gave him a special boarding pass requiring extra security, but other than that it was easier than I expected. This was at the San Francisco airport and at Logan in Boston.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 4:41 PM on December 30, 2006

PS You should be able to get your birth certificate before the 11th, you'll just have to hustle a bit if he was born out of state.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 4:44 PM on December 30, 2006

Yes, the guy at American is correct—he will just get an automatic secondary security screening. While there are no guarantees he will be allowed to fly, there never are. Don't worry, just add extra time at the airport to deal with this.
posted by grouse at 4:45 PM on December 30, 2006

I have managed to get on a plane without ID once, having been under the impression that my wallet had been stolen when I had in fact dropped it. At one airport I had the police report, at another I didn't, so I think it is at the discretion of the check-in person for the airline. By the way, I was asked if I had an insurance card, so you might be able to use that. Of course you'll want to be reasonable, calm and polite with the airline and TSA people.

Here in New York the turnaround for a license renewal has gotten very quick, so it's just possible that you could get one in time. Of course you might look into whether or not you could get other documents such as a Social Security card from wherever he has them stashed.
posted by lackutrol at 4:47 PM on December 30, 2006

My husband dropped his wallet in the car of the person bringing us to the airport once (after 9-11). We couldn't reach her by phone to get her to come back, and the airport folks did let him on. I had to attest to who he was (verbally) and I think he did have extra screening.
posted by GaelFC at 5:46 PM on December 30, 2006

I lost my wallet this summer, I went to the United counter and got a boarding pass then I went through a secondary screening at TSA security. At no point did anybody ask me if I was who I said I was. All they were concerned about was that I wasn't bringing toothpaste on board. I wouldn't worry about it.
posted by Xurando at 5:58 PM on December 30, 2006

My ex went through, however, she missed her flight because the extra screening took over an hour. This was on purpose by the TSA because they are racist dorks there is no doubt. She was however able to fly. Lesson:get to the airport extra early to go through the extra screening process.
posted by Osmanthus at 6:33 PM on December 30, 2006

I left my wallet on the table of the place I was staying. We were flying Southwest, so we checked in before we left for the airport. I explained the situation to the first security guy (before you get the machines) and my roommate threw in jokingly, "I promise she's who she says she is!" He muttered something about how that was nothing compared to the stories he'd heard in 'Nam, scribbled "No ID" on my boarding pass, and let me through no problem. No extra screening or anything (and this was just last year)

And actually, I had even left a pocket knife in my bag and they found it. We were already late for the plane, so I just told them to take it (they were trying to let me mail it home). Still didn't trigger any extra screening.

This was all in the Sacramento airport.

So yeah, allow extra time just in case, but it's nothing to get violent over. I've never had much trouble with security in San Diego either. Of course, I usually fly Southwest, which uses the smaller Terminal 1. Terminal 2 (for AA) is a bit bigger, so security might be more of a hassle.
posted by natabat at 6:50 PM on December 30, 2006

I recently lost my drivers license and flew anyway. I did have a YMCA card with my photo on it. All that happened was that I had to do the "special" security check which was just a wand and pat down. At least once, this security detour was faster than the regular line.

I wouldn't worry about it. Make a reasonable effort to get some sort of ID. If you fail in that, your chances are still good you'll get to where you want to go.
posted by nonmyopicdave at 7:51 PM on December 30, 2006

If you need to point them at some rules, this is covered by the FAA security directive 96-05 (which they should have).

Tell them "just tap up Sec-Dec 96-5 on your computer, and go to Paragraph 1, Section C. Designate me as a 'selectee,' and proceed accordingly." (quoted from Looking Glass)
posted by sipher at 8:23 PM on December 30, 2006

You also skip one potential ID check by using self-checkin, if that's an option.
posted by trevyn at 3:41 AM on December 31, 2006

I mean, I have a California ID! I'll be your boyfriend!

I think that sound I just heard was your other boyfriend finding his ID.
posted by trevyn at 3:48 AM on December 31, 2006

Yes, you can fly without ID. You'll need to check in at a desk, and explain that you don't have ID. People lose ID -- I lost one between checking in and the security line (I dropped it, and a helpful soul picked it up and handed it to the Delta desk. I was flying AA....)

They'll check you in and flag you for extra security -- the SSSS on your boarding pass.

Get there earlier, you'll need some more time, esp. if there are many people flagged for secondary screening. Ideally, check every bit of luggage you can, that will speed up the search at the security lines.

Free hint for all: After that little incident, I went to MoDNR and got a second ID, which isn't a driver's license and doesn't have any information on it that isn't public record. That gets pulled out for air travel, and should I lose it, I have the drivers license as a fallback to get home, and I don't care that I've lost that photo ID -- I just go get a new one.

As to the one I did lose -- Delta mailed it to me. I made a point of writing an attaboy letter to them for that.
posted by eriko at 7:37 AM on December 31, 2006

First week of August, I lost my ID the night before flying from San Diego back home to the East Coast. I brought to the airport my airline luggage tags from the flight over, and had printed my tickets from the airline's web site, went to the ticket counter and was the most polite I have ever been in my entire lile. Everything was fine.

I even got to go through a shorter TSA screening line, and the guy who searched me was really understanding and made me feel better.
posted by 4ster at 9:48 AM on December 31, 2006

I've been able to get my birth certificate from Kansas (using VitalChek) in 2 days for about $30 inclusive of overnight shipping. I've had to do it twice, both times to get a lost social security card. The SS card took longer, but can be expedited. Your state may or may not be as speedy, but it's certainly possible to get a new driver's license in 10 days, if you'd rather not go through the security hassle.

It looks like you might be out of luck with VitalChek in california, though, as they take 7-10 days to produce a birth certificate there. I know Kansas can do it the same day if you show up in person, perhaps they can do the same in California.

Might I suggest that when you get the driver's license, you also have him get a passport, since they're usable for pretty much any sort of identification you'd need it for (including employment eligibility)? Be sure and have him keep the passport in a safe place, but unlike a driver's license, he won't need to carry it around, so it's much easier to keep track of.
posted by wierdo at 2:11 PM on December 31, 2006

I agree that it will be fine as long as you show up very early and are entirely compliant. Any temp ID-age would help, I'd think.

Good luck and godspeed,
posted by gbinal at 11:18 PM on January 3, 2007

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