The US Government has developed a ‘Secure Flight’ Program, which collects data on passengers travelling to/ from/ via the USA (SFPD). This program will come into full effect from 01 November 2010.
- What is SFPD?
SFPD stands for Secure Flight Passenger Data. It is a mandate required by TSA – Transportation Security Administration (The US agency responsible for security in all modes of transportation).
- What is Secure Flight and what does it do?
Secure Flight is a behind-the-scenes program that streamlines the watch list matching process. It will improve the travel experience for all passengers, including those who have been misidentified in the past.
- Why is Secure Flight collecting this information?
TSA determined that mandating the provision of the additional data elements of date of birth and gender would greatly reduce the number of passengers misidentified as a match to the watch list. It is to the passenger’s advantage to provide the required data elements as doing so may prevent delays or inconveniences at the airport, particularly for those individuals who have been misidentified in the past.
- What information will be collected by Secure Flight?
When passengers travel, they will be required to provide the following Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) to their travel agent when making a reservation:
- Passenger’s name as it appears on the passport
- Date of birth
- Redress number (A unique identification number assigned to travellers under the Department of Homeland Security Traveller Redress Inquiry Program- if applicable)
- At what point is the information required?
Travel agencies will require each passenger’s details 72 hours before flight departure and sometimes before the ticket is issued. This requirement is effective 1st November 2010. Failure to provide this information will result in booking cancellations.
- Why is it important?
The Secure Flight program enhances the security of domestic and international commercial air travel through the use of improved watch list matching. Collecting additional passenger data will improve the travel experience for all airline passengers, including those who have been misidentified in the past. Lack of this information will cancel your booking, or you will be denied boarding when checking in.
- What happens to the Information provided?
Travel agencies will transmit this information to the airline, who will, in turn, forward this information to the authorities before flight departure. This prevents individuals on the ‘No Fly List’ from boarding an aircraft and identifies individuals on the ‘Selectee List’ for enhanced screening. After matching passenger information against government watch lists, Secure Flight transmits the matching results back to your travel agent.
N.B: Kindly note some airlines have already implemented this requirement, and you may be required to submit the same details even if you are not travelling to/from the United States of America. For more information, visit www.tsa.gov.
Are you aware of the Secure Flight Passenger Data? What has been your experience? Is it working? Share your views and experiences by commenting below.