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ID Cards And Airport Security, What Is Required?

ID cards and airports have become a scary combination. Being in the industry, I take daily calls from individuals who want to get a photo ID card for themselves or their family member because of an upcoming flight. Whenever I get a call like this I start to cringe, because it makes me realize that many airports only require an employee ID card or some kind of photo identification to allow them past security. As I begin to question if the card would even be acceptable, many have responded that they have already talked with the airport and were told that any form of photo identification would be acceptable.

Many companies and clubs simply have members and many of these organizations produce ID cards as well. I've got a couple of photo security badges in my wallet along with a PADI card and a few others cards with my picture on them. Is this all that's needed to board a plane? I mean today we aren't allowed to have to take a coke on the plane, but I'm allowed to get aboard with my newspaper ID card?

To make matters worse, it has become easier and easier to produce high quality identification cards in small quantities. There are sites all over the web that will not only produce an employee ID card, but will also produce a fake identification card for the right price.

According to a poll taken by Inc, frequent travelers are most likely to favor implementing a National Travel Card System by some 71%, and they are more likely to use it. More detailed than a driver's license or passport, the card could contain encrypted information including the traveler's photograph, fingerprints, flight history and facial or retinal (eye) characteristics. As described in the survey, the voluntary program would allow cardholders to avoid extensive luggage searches. But what does this mean about those that don't want to use such a card. Does that mean that they can get on board with their new club of the month ID card?

Most people in the ID card industry feel it's important not to produce fraudulent identification cards; but who is going to verify the identify and membership of the plant of the month club? After discussing this in our offices, there is only so much we can do when it comes to producing ID cards. Sure we stop anything that looks as if they are trying to duplicate or produce a fake ID card, but when it comes to a fishing club, sorority or computer club it's simply beyond our economic responsibility.

It really comes down to identification companies taking a proactive role to protect their industry. This is a market where we will either be self regulated or destroyed. Creating simpler ways of doing things in a professional matter is a result of a proactive marketplace, or it could it be a tool of marketplace destruction? Over 6 billion plastic cards were produced last year alone. I would say it's worth protecting.

About the Author

Allen Richardson is the founder of Virtual Tournament Director and a company that provides ID card services to the business community. He serves as consultant to Southwest Airlines, Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway and is the author of Personal Discipline.

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