According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Secure Flight is a program developed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to a key 9/11 Commission recommendation: uniform watch list matching by the TSA. The mission of the Secure Flight program is to enhance the security of domestic and international commercial air travel through the use of improved watch list matching.
Secure Flight conducts uniform prescreening of passenger information against federal government watch lists for domestic and international flights. The TSA has taken over this responsibility from aircraft operators.
For more information about the TSA Secure Flight Program, visit www.tsa.gov/secureflight.
The TSA uses Secure Flight to protect sensitive watch list data and enable officials to address security threats sooner, keeping air travel safer. By implementing one watch list matching system, the program provides a fair and consistent matching process across all airlines.
Secure Flight also helps prevent watch list name confusion for passengers who have a name that is similar to one on the TSA watch list. Secure Flight uses the results of the redress process in its watch list matching process to help prevent future delays for misidentified passengers.
According to the TSA, watch lists are a critical tool used to keep known terrorists off airplanes and are a key component of aviation security.
The Terrorist Screening Center, which is part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, maintains the U.S. government's Consolidated Terrorist Watch List. The Terrorist Screening Center allows all government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State, to run name checks against the same comprehensive list with the most accurate, up-to-date information about known and suspected terrorists.
A redress number is a number provided by the TSA for those individuals who have repeatedly been identified for additional screening because their name is similar to the name of an individual on the watch list. Individuals requesting a redress number are invited to apply through the Department of Homeland Security Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP). For more information on the redress process, visit www.dhs.gov/trip.
Airlines are required to provide this data to the TSA before the carrier can issue a boarding pass (either in advance or at the airport). If you prefer, you can choose to provide the personal data directly to the airline at the airport each time you travel. However, please note that you will not be able to purchase a reservation online. You also will not receive a boarding pass or be able to travel until the appropriate data has been collected.
For all reservations booked on or after October 1, 2009 for travel on Southwest Airlines, you must provide your information before a boarding pass can be issued.
If you are a Rapid Rewards member, the name on your reservation is validated against the name in your Rapid Rewards account. If the names do not match, we will not be able to process your reservation with the account number and you will not receive your Rapid Rewards points. Therefore, we highly recommend that you update your Rapid Rewards account with your name as it appears on the government-issued ID with which you will be traveling.
Please note that, for security purposes, we do not allow name changes to your Rapid Rewards account online. Instead, you may forward your Rapid Rewards membership card, along with photocopies of legal documentation (drivers license, marriage certificate, etc.) and an informal letter indicating your legal name, to Rapid Rewards, P.O. Box 36657, Dallas, TX 75235, for processing. Please allow four weeks to receive your updated Rapid Rewards membership card.
You should ensure the name provided when booking your travel matches the government ID that you will use when traveling. Though there will be a limited grace period for minor discrepancies (e.g., use of a middle initial instead of full middle name), over time passengers should strive to obtain consistency between the name on their government-issued ID and their travel information. The TSA strongly suggests passengers amend the name on their driver's license to match the name that appears on their passport.
Due to current character limitations, boarding passes may display an abbreviated version of the name you provided when you made your reservation. The TSA has stated that this should not impact your travel, including your ability to proceed through the security checkpoint.
Though you are not required to update your Southwest account, we strongly encourage you to do so at your earliest convenience to help ensure that your future travels on Southwest are as efficient as possible and that you receive the appropriate Rapid Rewards points.
If you have an existing reservation for future travel that was booked without Secure Flight Passenger Data, you do not need to update your reservation prior to your upcoming trip. However, you may be asked for this information when you check in at the airport.
Special characters, such as apostrophes, cannot be added as part of your name in your Southwest account or to a reservation booked on southwest.com. If your government-issued ID contains special characters an your reservation does not, you will still be in compliance with the Secure Flight Program.
In order to receive Rapid Rewards points for your travel, the name in your reservation must match the name in your Rapid Rewards account. Therefore, if the name you use to travel (the name on your government-issued ID) is not the same as the name in your Rapid Rewards account, you will need to update your account online in order to receive your points. Additionally, making this change will make it easier to book reservations in the future when you are logged in, as the necessary data to meet the Secure Flight requirements will automatically populate in the booking form online.
If you encounter an error when requesting past flight credit online, please contact us at 1-800-445-5764.