A large number of Americans are using unsanctioned IDs to pass through airport security and board flights, according to survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by Wakefield Research. Despite current security measures, 60 percent of Americans who have ever been to an airport report they have boarded a plane without proper identification. More than half (51 percent) passed through security using some form of ID that doesn’t include a picture at all.
The top four forms of unsanctioned IDs reported by air travelers are:
• Government-issued, non-photo form of ID, such as a Social Security Card (27 percent)
• Credit card (23 percent)
• Photo of an ID on their phone (18 percent)
• Public document, like a marriage license (13 percent)
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) offers alternative ways to identify travelers without proper identification, which may slow down the security lines and cause delays.
Biometrics: Ready for Takeoff
Americans seem ready to fully embrace biometric security screening at the airport as a positive solution to the issue of identity. Biometric technologies use body and behavior to confirm identity and include fingerprint scans, retina scans or facial recognition. In fact, 84 percent of Americans feel that biometrics will improve travelers’ airport experience. Nearly 3 out of 5 (59 percent) believe that biometrics will increase safety because of improved identification accuracy. More than half (56 percent) believe it would improve speed and efficiency in security lines.
In the name of speed and efficiency, many Americans are ready to see upgrades to the technology in airports. Almost half (46 percent) would feel safe and comfortable using ePassports, which are passports with biometric information. Nearly as many (45 percent) would be on board with using digital IDs, meaning IDs that can be presented on a smartphone, and 43 percent would be comfortable with retina scans to confirm their identity.
Air Travel By Generation
When looking at who is most likely to use questionable documents to board a flight, Millennials (75 percent) are more likely to have used an alternative form of ID than either Generation X (65 percent) or Baby Boomers (45 percent). While many Americans are embracing the idea of biometrics, Millennials (85 percent) are most comfortable using biometric technology in airports, compared to Generation X (76 percent) and Baby Boomers (74 percent).
“Americans are busier than ever and clearly ready for new solutions to address the long lines and often tedious airport boarding experience,” said Yossi Zekri, President and CEO of Acuant. “Airports around the world are adopting biometrics, such as facial recognition tied to a valid government issued document, secure ID tokens and other technologies to improve the travel experience while increasing safety. It is time for U.S. airports to evolve into the 21st century and make flying frictionless, fast and fun again.”
This online survey of 1,000 nationally representative U.S. adults, ages 18+, was conducted by Wakefield Research in October 2018.