Airport Oddities

Flyer Uses Facebook Profile as ID For Airport Security

Forgot your ID? Use Facebook instead!

One flyer was shocked recently to learn that the TSA would accept his Facebook profile as identification for passing through airport security, in lieu of a government photo ID (which he had forgotten.) Mashable reports that Zach Klein, the co-founder of Vimeo and CEO, was allowed to use his Facebook profile to verify his identity when attempting to board a flight last week.

According to the TSA’s website, it’s not an automatic rejection at security if a traveler forgets his or her ID. The website states: “We understand passengers occasionally arrive at the airport without an ID, due to lost items or inadvertently leaving them at home. Not having an ID does not necessarily mean a passenger won’t be allowed to fly. If passengers are willing to provide additional information, we have other means of substantiating someone’s identity, like using publicly available databases. Passengers who are cleared through this process may be subject to additional screening. Passengers whose identity cannot be verified by TSA may not be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint or onto an airplane.”

It’s interesting that Facebook counts as a “publicly available database” since it’s extremely easy to create a fake Facebook profile under a different name using your own photo. We wonder if the TSA factors in how many friends a Facebook account has to confirm its legitimacy?

What do you think of this policy? Have you ever forgotten your ID and still gotten through airport security?

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By Caroline Morse Teel

Unfortunately for her bank account, Principal Editor Caroline Morse Teel is powerless to resist a good flight deal. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo,, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: "Don't be boring."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle (when the first class private suite isn't available)."

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