ID Checks at Australian Domestic Airports?

There have recently been calls to make identification checks mandatory for all passengers flying within Australia. The checks would be intended to prevent criminals from flying under a fake name.

Booking a ticket using a false name is already a serious criminal offence. However, the introduction of online check-in and self-service kiosks means that it is currently possible to board an aircraft in Australia without ever actually proving one’s identity.

Passport checks are already carried out for all international flights, but the majority of members are against extending this to domestic flights. They feel that implementing such a system would create unnecessary delays at the airport, while creating extra costs for airlines that would ultimately be passed onto flyers. Some also question the detrimental impact on civil liberties that would result from such measures.

Aside from the impact this would have on processing time (and added cost to travel), what a troubling notion about the potential impact on civil liberties. What’s next? ID checks to catch a train, show the bus driver your photo card before you can board a bus, taxi drivers running your ID through cabcharge before the car engine will start…

ID checks are routinely conducted for all domestic flights in the United States, as well as various other countries. In our members’ experience, the extra checks can lead to excruciatingly long lines at the security checkpoints.

Dislike the idea. Regularly adds a few minutes of queuing in the states even as a priority pax.

At the same time, our members believe that ID checks for domestic passengers would provide little benefit. They suggest that anyone trying to travel without detection from the authorities would simply drive or use a fake ID. They also note that current security measures in Australian airports are effective and sufficient.

At the end of the day unless it is international I dont see the point of ID checks, except for Tasmania you can drive and although it would be an inconvinice criminals would just drive.

Other members are less concerned. They point out that identification was always sighted at the airport before the introduction of online check-in anyway. These members don’t see the harm in re-introducing such measures if they will enhance aviation security.

For years we had to ID ourselves at check-in, so the ‘civil liberty’ argument doesn’t hold water, in my mind. It only stopped with self-serve and on-line check-in.

One further unintended consequence of such measures could be the requirement to hold a boarding pass before proceeding through the security checkpoint. This means it will be impossible to meet arriving family & friends at the gate. It also means that anyone entering airside airport lounges or shopping at airside retail outlets would need to be travelling that day. It is therefore unlikely that airport retailers would support the measures.

Join the discussion HERE.


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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.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]