It has been reported that compulsory ID checks will soon be implemented for Australian domestic flights. This means that you would be required to show photo identification before boarding a domestic flight.

It is already illegal to fly under a false name. And when checking in at an airport counter, most airlines will already ask passengers to show ID. But passengers checking in online or through an airport self-service kiosk are rarely required to produce identification currently. They do not have any interaction with airport staff during the check-in process.

The recommendation comes after a review into aviation security following the discovery of an alleged terrorist plot earlier this year. The government argues that compulsory ID checks for all airline passengers would improve security.

While our members do not mind having to show identification when flying, they are concerned about the possible flow-on effects. Currently, anyone can enter the airside area at Australian domestic terminals. This allows people not flying to see off friends, family and colleagues. It also means those not flying can access airside shops and airport lounges (generally as a guest of someone that is flying).

I fear they may take the same view as US authorities, that only flying passengers will be able to access airside (and those lounges), to reduce these ID and security checks (assuming they are part of the same process) and the associated labour and infrastructure to only those actually travelling.

More security theatre. What a shame if it means friends and family members will no longer be able to come through security to farewell and welcome people.

But one member is sceptical that this would be the case as it would result in lost business for airport retailers.

Not many airports of similar status to the major Australian cities where they allow non-travellers air-side, and I have wondered whether the food/drink purveyors have had something to do with this here to keep the businesses propped up.

Many members believe that any potential security improvements resulting from mandatory ID checks would be outweighed by the inconvenience caused to passengers.

It’s going to mean slower progression through airports, more queues, and longer waits.

Others are unfazed. It’s already the case that you might be asked for ID when flying within Australia, so compulsory checks would change very little.

I had the impression photo ID was always a requirement? I get asked about 30% of the time when checking in my luggage even after checking in online.I sometime get asked at the service desk when trying to change seats. Pretty sure if I said I don’t have one, I won’t be allowed to board.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

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