As a travel agency, our job is to keep you informed about changes in the travel industry. If you have traveled through any major airport in the past couple months, you may have noticed a TSA announcement about the REAL ID Act. Here is a brief description of the REAL ID act and how it affects you.
What is the Real ID Act?
The Real ID Act is a federal law that requires state driver’s licenses and ID cards to be accepted by the federal government for “official purposes“. The Secretary of Homeland Security has currently defined “official purposes” as boarding commercially operated domestic airline flights, entering federal buildings, and nuclear power plants. The REAL ID Act also helps secure domestic flights and federal facilities by increasing regulations on IDs to deter forgery. This new law goes into effect October 1, 2020.
How does it affect Indiana?
Indiana is fully compliant with the REAL ID Act (It is called the Secure ID in Indiana). When the new law goes into effect on October 1, 2020, you will need to make sure that your license meets the standard. A Secure Indiana ID has a star in the top right corner. When you renew your license, make sure you understand what additional forms of identification you will need to have a license that meets the new federal guidelines, http://www.in.gov/bmv/2953.htm.
How does it affect other states?
If your driver license is issued by a state that is non-compliant with the REAL ID Act you will have to use another form of identification accepted by TSA (Passport or Passport Card, Global Entry card, U.S. military ID, airline or airport-issued ID, federally recognized tribal-issued photo ID) after January 22, 2018. To check to see if your state is compliant with the REAL ID Act click the map below.
I am lucky enough to work in an office with some amazing women. I want to share a quick story about what happened a couple weeks back. Here is what happened.
Imagine you are at the end of your Christmas break Key West vacation and tonight you will be home in Northern Indiana. You head to the airport for the last leg of the journey. Upon arriving at the airport, you receive a rude awaking as armed guards barricade the entrance of the airport and direct you out of the area. This was a reality for a client of ours.
On Friday, January 6th, our clients arrived at Fort Lauderdale International airport to see armed guards motioning them to stay back. They had just arrived at the scene of a horrific shooting. One of the advantages of using a travel agency is the security of knowing that you have a personal assistant to get you out of any travel situation. Immediately our client texted their agent at Menno Travel, we had already received a travel warning regarding the shooting at Fort Lauderdale Airport. Before they texted us, we were in the midst of going through our data base to see who was flying in, out, or connecting in Fort Lauderdale. Whenever there is a major alert (weather, malfunctions, terrorist incidents) Menno contacts our clients letting them know of potential delays and provides them with other travel options.
Maggie, the vacation agent working with the stranded clients, called Delta and tried to find a way back to South Bend. That particular Friday, there were major winter ice storms passing through the East and West coasts, it was also the end of Christmas break. Usually, our agents can find another route home, the difficulty was getting five passengers back on the same flight. Maggie searched multiple airports in Florida to try and find a flight back to this area. There were no Delta flights back to our area that had five seats available. While on hold with Delta, Maggie found five seats on an American Airlines flight departing from Miami the next morning. She negotiated with Delta and got a refund for our clients and booked the American Airline flight to Chicago. She then booked a hotel room in Miami. The next morning when the family arrived in Chicago, Maggie had arranged for a limo to pick them up. It was the cheapest option back to South Bend. The limo drove our clients back to South Bend and dropped the family off at their front door, then drove the husband to South Bend airport to pick up his personal car. Menno is currently working on getting refunds for our client’s limo and hotel expense.
In an unpredictable world where stories like this occur, having someone to back you up and provide service at this level is critical. We hope that this situation, or any situation, never happens to our clients but we will be there if it ever does.