THE United States continues to introduce new security measures to assure the safety of travelers and US citizens. One of its most recent is the Secure Flight Program enforced by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Secure Flight is a behind-the-scenes program that enhances security for domestic and international commercial air travel through the use of improved watchlist matching. It was developed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to a key 9/11 Commission recommendation. TSA believes that collecting additional passenger data will improve travel experience for all airline passengers, including those who have been misidentified in the past.
On October 15, Philippine Airlines began compliance with this security measure, requiring all US-bound airline passengers from the Philippines to provide their detailed personal information when booking for a flight or purchasing tickets from PAL or from any of its accredited agents.
Passengers will have to give the Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) to their airline when making a reservation. The data should include the passenger’s name as it appears on a government-issued ID used when traveling, date of birth and gender. The airline will then transmit this information to Secure Flight, and will be matched to a watchlist.
After matching passenger information with the government’s watchlists, Secure Flight transmits the matching results back to the airline. This process serves to identify known and suspected terrorists, prevent individuals on the No Fly List from boarding an aircraft, identify individuals on the Selectee List for enhanced screening, facilitate passenger air travel and protect individuals’ privacy.
Although Secure Flight started last year for both domestic and international flights, the program was phased-in individually with each airline. Passengers should not be concerned if a particular airline does not ask them to provide the additional information right away.
Also, passengers are reminded that their names, when booking flights, should match the name on the government-issued ID that they will be using during their travel. Doing so may prevent delays or inconveniences at the airport, especially for those passengers who have been misidentified in the past.
Though these methods may be painstakingly inconvenient for most travelers, especially for those who prefer hassle-free trips, we should bear in mind that this is for everyone’s safety and security. Each of us should cooperate in the fight against terrorism, albeit the burdensome methods