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Real ID: Travel Advisors Warn About Possible Problems

picture of license with star
State of Michigan

Are you REAL I.D. compliant?  Do you know what REAL I.D. is? Those are some pertinent questions as airlines and agents prepare for the new federal rule.  In most cases, it’s a license with a star in the right corner.  Starting in October, you must be “REAL I.D.” compliant or you won’t be able to fly domestically. 

“Beginning October first, if you want to board a plane in the U.S., just for domestic travel, you need to have either a Real ID compliant driver’s license or a current passport.”

Travel expert Jo Anne Verboome, with Gagnon Travel says she recently returned from Capitol Hill where she and others with the American Society of Travel Advisors were meeting with lawmakers to talk about Real I.D. Verboome says the Real I.D. Act has been on the books since 2005, but there have been continual delays in enacting it.  But this time, she says, it doesn’t look like it will be pushed back.  The problem, she says, is that not many people are aware or even know what being Real I.D. compliant means… and this could have a huge impact on travel come October.

“It is anticipated that on October first, there will be at least 88-thousand people that are denied boarding for a domestic flight and from then on, up to 500-thousand per week, because they don’t have the proper documentation.”

I also spoke with Jake Rollo, Director of Communications. External Affairs Michigan Department of State.  He says right now about 47% of the state’s driver’s licenses are compliant.  He adds, not everyone will have to rush to the Secretary of State, as you might already be compliant.

“So, enhanced licenses are a Real ID.  So, remember that Real ID is a category of various forms of identification. So, your passport is a real ID, you license can be upgraded to a Real ID and an enhanced drivers license is already a real ID.  There are people who have an enhanced license with a star and those without stars, both of them will work.”

Rollo says if you’re not compliant, and want to beat the October rush, the best thing to do is to make an appointment to get your new license or I.D.  there’s more info at Michigan.gov/sos.   Jennifer Moss, WGVU News.