Rookie Wednesday: Flying and ID lost or stolen? Can I still fly home on Delta / Skyteam?

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RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

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Have you ever had that terrifying feeling come over you when you go to pull your ID from your wallet and – IT IS NOT THERE! AGGG! The amount of data and questions that pour though your skull is overwhelming. Where is it? When did I have it out last? Where did I put it? Did my wife take it? And on and on as you break into a cold sweat. Even more so if you are at the ticket counter with Delta about to check-in.

What do I do?
Can I still fly?
What should I have done?

Let’s even take this to the next level, say you are traveling and you lose your wallet or worse it is stolen! What now? How will you get home with no ID?

First take a deep breath and know you are going to be OK and some info from Delta and the TSA. On it tells us:

what you will need to fly delta air lines delta-com web site info

So it seems to indicate that you cannot fly without an ID. This is not truly the case. You can, but it will take more time to verify you are who you say you are. The more important question is what the TSA says (when in the USA). Notice what the TSA web site says:

TSA web site acceptable ids from web site

So the TSA will allow you to fly without an ID but know this is going to take more time at security (maybe a lot more time). What about outside the USA if your passport is lost or stolen? The US State Department tells us you will need to get a replacement.

So what are some tips to help you? Here are some suggestions. Hopefully you did not have your phone lost or stolen at the same time. If you take photos of your ID and Passport you have that and it can help you with Delta and/or the TSA (be sure again, to have a security code on your phone in case it is lost)! Another idea is save these photos somewhere securely on the web but again ensure you have a VERY good password.

Global entry card or other type of approved ID. First off, if you have the AMEX Platinum personal or the AMEX Platinum business card you can get GOES or Global Entry (and TSA Pre Check) and get an ID card that I keep somewhere other than my wallet so if it is lost or worse I still have an ID in another location.

Overnight shipping. If your wallet is stolen, most credit cards will either free or for a fee overnight you new cards. This can help you prove you are who you say you are when you go to fly. Or, if you have someone at home, have them overnight more things to prove you are who you say you are like a water or gas bill (or just print them online often works too).

I really could go on and on but I think you can see now that there is no real need for panic; you are going to be able to travel under most circumstances it just will take a little more time and effort to get you home! – René

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  1. @Hua – I have not but as I said in post I have backup IDs just in case and there have been times I was down to 1 ID not my normal 2+. However, Delta is not the real problem, it is TSA but with time and these suggestions it should work fine.

  2. I usually keep my passport in a zipped pocket on my travel shirt when traveling internationally. However, at the very warm airline club that Delta uses in Frankfort, I had forgotten to zip it up after showing it to enter, and when I took it off at a table, apparently the velcro backup also gave way and my passport fell under my chair, unnoticed by me. An hour later, when I went to board without it, I panicked! Retracing my steps, I found my passport (thankfully no one else took it first, and the club reception was all but useless). Lesson learned – develop an OCD-like habit for protecting travel documents!

  3. Unrelated issue regarding booking award tickets. Using my iPad on the site (not the app) and without logging in, I found a business class award ticket to Europe at less than half the miles (120K) while I simultaneously checked the same itinerary on my laptop (250K).

  4. My fiancee and I were traveling recently from BGR, a samll airport, when she discovered at the Delta counter she had forgotten her license TSA let her pass through security with a Sam’s Club card and another credit card. They did however do a more complete screening/search. We had her passport Fedexed so we would not run into issue when returning from MCO. She found her license in her coat pocket at home.

  5. You can 100% definitely fly delta without having an ID (YMMV).
    I had an all-night binger in New Orleans. Lost my ID at some point during the night. Got to the airport at 5:30 AM for an 8 AM flight.
    Spent 45 minutes talking with TSA, showed and described them everything in my wallet ( Credit cards, gas cards, insurance card, kroger card – NOTHING had my picture on it), and they let me through eventually.
    I did have to remove some clothing to get on the plane, but I smelled pretty bad, so they probably minded more than I did.

    I carry two forms of ID when I travel from now on.

    Another friend of mine lost her ID, she was allowed to go through with a police report that indicated her ID was lost/stolen.

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