Blogs Against Kleptocracy – TSA’s Gift To The Airlines

As if all kinds of new charges on checked luggage weren’t enough to make you want to stop flying, we now find that TSA is in the business of putting a little extra money in the pockets of the airlines.

Any recent changes in the way you use or spell your name? Did you start using your middle name? What’s on your passport? And what about that ticket you just booked…didn’t use your nickname by any chance, did you? Well if you did, beware. TSA has a thing they call the “exact match rule” that allows airlines to deny you boarding if the name you book under doesn’t exactly match official documents like your passport or your US government approved identification (i.e., your driver’s license in this new era of Real ID.)

And just what do you do if the airline says “no”? Well that’s when this situation gets really egregious. TSA allows the airline to just let the whole thing slide for a $100.00 fee. In other words, the supposed reason for denying you boarding—the potential security risk of the inexact name match—becomes irrelevant if you agree to grease the airline’s palm. But what if you refuse? Well then…there’s extortion, officially sanctioned by TSA. “What do you mean you don’t want to pay us $100.00? OK. Rebook your damn ticket, chump!”

Another fine example of the Corporate Kleptocracy in action: Anything to help the corporations turn a profit at the expense of consumers.

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10 thoughts on “Blogs Against Kleptocracy – TSA’s Gift To The Airlines”

  1. I wrote a bit about this the other day, updating with today’s news that on June 15th, American Airlines is going to start charging $15 for the first checked bag. They already charge $25 for the second checked bag.

    The “exact name match” has been in effect for years, long before 9/11. However, Travel Agents were able to correct typos via messages to the airlines. But using a “nickname” rather than legal name has always been an issue and the airlines have had the right to deny boarding.

    But, to turn this into a “fuel offset” charge – $100 and they’ll ignore the name discrepancies – that’s just wrong. As wrong as charging for checked bags.

  2. I work for one of the big airlines, and normally find posts mewling and whining about surcharges ridiculous. People with an overinflated sense of entitlement pack a ridiculous amount of crap (often well beyond the bag’s capacity), show up as late as possible, and expect a pair of cherubs to waft their luggage away to its destination on individual silk pillows. Here’s a tip: don’t like the surcharge for the second bag? Don’t pack a second bag. Or don’t fly. This ain’t no giveaway program. In case you haven’t been to the gas station or a supermarket lately, things are tough all over.

    But yes, slipping TSA a bill to make a security problem “go away” is unbelievable bullshit. Not that I’m surprised much; airport security remains a joke, mostly show and damned little substance.

    Still, the solution to the problem at hand remains simple: Do it right. Look up the rules before you get started, and follow them. If your name is Mickey Mantle, don’t get your ticket under “M. Eltnam III” or “Ivan Aman DuHuggenkiss.” Forgo using your nickname, married name, or pseudonym until your IDs all match up with it. Is that so tough? I know it’s like, totally fascist harsh and stuff, dooood, but that’s the way it works.

    As with their luggage, almost all of the customers’ problems with security are their own damn fault, based on the erroneous belief that they can do whatever they want whenever they like because they bought a ticket.

  3. OK Happenstance…but that surcharge that American just applied doesn’t get applied if you don’t check the bag. So…even if I make a decision not to inconvenience my fellow passengers, I get penalized–like the weight magically goes away if I carry my bag on.

    But more to the point, this is not really about bag, no-bag, charge, no-charge. It’s about the Feds cavalierly discarding their rules–no specifically concocting rules–that help out key industries at the expense of the public. That’s one of the tenants of a Kleptocracy.

    Fred… I’ll pop right over and take a look. Thanks for the link.

  4. The name thing can be tough. Airlines only want you first name, last name and middle initial. That’s not how my i.d. reads. Have you ever tried convincing an airline to change your name in their system? Hell will freeze over first.

  5. But using a “nickname” rather than legal name has always been an issue and the airlines have had the right to deny boarding.

    Diva, is this really true? I thought that the whole crux of the “no-fly list” issue was that, in the presence of a valid ticket, the airlines don’t actually have the right to deny you boarding, but are pretending like they do to satisfy TSA regs that require that they do the Feds job for them. This was how the Gilmore case came about. He refused to produce ID, was denied boarding, then asked to see a copy of the regulation, which the airline denied even existed. Of course, he lost that case.

    Frogette… Moreover it they inconsistently apply that standard. Passports require your full legal name, but airlines rarely if ever enforce that as a standard.

  6. Kvatch: But carry-ons are limited by size, so unless the carry-on contents are incredibly dense (I’ve loaded duffle bags filled with sacks of FLOUR, for God’s sake…and don’t get me started on tool kits), it balances out. Fuel isn’t used only for the flight itself, but for the assorted equipment used to transport, examine, and load the checked stuff. In the end, the bag surcharge (divorced now from the “slip-TSA-a-C-note” issue) is about making the workload pay its way.

  7. Kvatch: Some airlines like Northwest (and probably others) love to lose luggage, so this encourages people to take them onboard instead of check them. They also have refuse to fire employees who are caught maliciously destroying checked baggage. Yes, the airlines are 100% to blame here for doing a very bad job with luggage. A rule requiring the airlines to pay at least $1000 for each lost (including delayed) bag might help things. Excessive? Yes. But if the airlines took reasonable care with people’s property entrusted to them, they’d never lose one cent in paying this fee.

  8. Yes, Kvatch, the name thing is absolutely true. And I agree with Happenstance. Everything he says is accurate about the behaviors of travelers. As a Travel Agent, I get all kinds of outrageous comments from travelers with an overinflated sense of exactly how the rules do not apply to them. People routinely overpack for a weekend trip, taking enough junk with them for a month. And, when people call to book a trip (which usually involves air travel), they lie. I always ask for names as they appear on passports, even for domestic travel. I always ask people to go over the spelling. They STILL lie.

    I had a client going to Costa Rica – part of the trip involved a small plane with a bag weight limit of 25 Lbs. She told me her makeup weighed 25 Lbs, and she would just take what she damn well pleased.

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