How to clear airport security without a photo ID (if you’re as lucky as I was)

About two weeks ago, I lost my driver’s license and Social Security card (the latter an item that only idiots like me keep in their wallets in the first place) . Fortunately, the rest of the contents of my wallet remained in my possession, so I still had my credit and debit cards and a Circle K coffee club card edging ever closer to free-cup status; this combination allowed to me accomplish the major tasks of my day-to-day life as a tentatively scheduled trip across the country fast approached. I ordered a replacement copy of my out-of-state license online a week ago Saturday. the 12th, and booked a late-Tuesday-the-22nd flight from Denver to Boston, figuring that this would allow enough lead time for my ID to arrive before I had to deal with the TSA. It didn’t.

Until a few days ago, I figured that without a government-issued photo ID, I had no chance of boarding my plane last night. Then I started doing some research as the likelihood of my not having my license in time to travel home appeared greater and greater. As a result, when yesterday’s load of mail bore nothing of use, I wasn’t all that distressed as I rode down Route 36 toward the infamous DIA demon horse.

I knew that my credit cards would help me, but also found some advice online about amassing as many documents as possible unlikely to be accessible to people who are not me. So I printed up a copy of my tax return. I also learned that I would surely be quizzed on things such as past residences and jobs, neighbors, car registrations and so on. There was no way to study for such a quiz other than to just remember the right answers.

As it happened it was nearly as involved as all that. When I told the gatekeeper TSA aget checking IDs that I had lost mine, e politely had me stand aside and wait for another agent, who took me to a desk (not a small room) and asked me to fill out a simple form requesting my name address and date of birth. After I did this, he got on the phone with someone in charge of a database or two (a person outside his own agency, I believe, given how he addressed her) and asked me several questions: Could I name any relatives? What was the phone number associated with that address? And on what day in history was my mother born?

I easily supplied this information, and that was it — my boarding pass was stamped and if anything I cleared security more quickly than I would have otherwise. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the license reaches Colorado today, but the urgnecy I was feeling over the weekend is suddenly lacking.

2 thoughts on “How to clear airport security without a photo ID (if you’re as lucky as I was)”

  1. I was going to unload some of my better box-cutter and “skyscraper chicken” jokes, but the guy looked like he was in pretty high spirits as it was, so I saved those cracks for the old lady next to me on the plane.

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