Travel News » September 2009 » U.S. bound passengers asked for sex and date of birth

U.S. bound passengers asked for sex and date of birth


Passengers travelling on U.S. airlines will have to give their date of birth and sex under a new aviation security requirement designed to eliminate the risk of terrorism.

Airlines have been phasing in the requirement ever since the U.S. Department of Homeland Security took over responsibility for checking airline passengers' names against government watch lists last August.

It is the latest move in the U.S government's attempts to tighten its security since the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Airlines will forward the passengers' details to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, which is aiming to vet all passengers on U.S. domestic flights by March 31 2010 and all passengers on international flights by the end of next year.

In the meantime, passengers will not be penalised for failing to supply their dates of birth and sex, though they may be subjected to secondary screening.

Once the programme is fully up and running those who do not give the required information will be denied boarding.

U.S. officials said that by supplying their dates of birth and their sex, passengers would be reducing the likelihood of being mistaken for known terrorists with similar names.

Some passengers and civil liberties groups are uncomfortable at airlines having access to passengers' private details, especially with the increase worldwide of identity fraud. However, the Department of Homeland Security insists its system is watertight and passengers' details will not be kept on file.

U.S. airlines flying out of the UK include American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines and Continental Airlines.

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