By Martha B.

Are you aware that on October 1, 2020 (one year from now), on domestic and international flights each of us will need to travel with either (1) enhanced driver’s license OR (2) valid passport? 

If your Michigan driver’s license is up for renewal before that date, it is important to choose the enhanced license option at the time of renewal.  If your license is not yet ready to be renewed, you can either pay to renew early at your favorite Secretary of  State office or choose to use a valid passport, even when traveling by air within the US.

Don’t wait till the last minute to do this since there may be long lines in Fall 2020 as the date approaches. It should be noted that, although our family has funny stories that we can laugh about later, TSA is not known for its sense of humor!

 

The Biriyani Incident

On a trip back from visiting friends in Albany NY, I carried a Styrofoam cup containing a leftover rice dish in my carry-on bag. After the bag was put on the conveyor belt and screened, the attendant alerted me that it would need to be screened again. Before I could ask him to be careful since it contained food with a rather flimsy lid, he had twirled my bag into the air and slammed it on the conveyor belt for the re-check. Needless to say, the rice went everywhere and, as a result, gummed up the device which came to a screeching halt. Suspecting ill intent, the security folks pulled me over and inspected each rice grain after the other that had spilled into my bag.  When the ordeal was over and I finally got to the gate, they checked my bag one more time. I possibly was put on some sort of list, since each time I flew for about a year afterwards, I was called for a “special” security check!

 

Always Carry A Recent ID, Even if it is 40 Years Old

Several years ago, on a trip out west to visit the National Parks in Utah, we arrived at the airport with our whole family in tow—kids, grandkids, the whole gamut of age and gender. Approaching TSA, my husband could not find his driver’s license in his wallet and soon realized that he had left it at the boat launch at Gallup Park where he and the grandkids had hired a boat the prior day. Apparently, he had been asked to leave the license at the boat launch and had forgotten to retrieve it when he returned the boat. 

In approaching the TSA desk, I advised him to look through his wallet for an alternate piece of identification. After an earnest search, he pulled out his citizenship card which had been issued in 1970, more than 40 years earlier! It had been laminated a long time ago, but the lamination was peeling off. I agreed to stand behind him as he approached the TSA desk and only come to his aid if necessary.

The TSA officer regarded the card thoughtfully.  I doubt he had seen one like that in his entire career (maybe he wasn’t even born when the card was issued!) He attempted to scan it, but there was nothing to scan, of course, since that technology was not in use in 1970.  He carefully scrutinized the picture on the card, presumably trying to see whether the young, dark haired man in the photo could have aged over the past 45 years into the much older version in front of him. Luckily my husband still retains the same distinguished nose!  Finally. the officer said a terse “Go on” and we were on our way!