Why you should get a Real ID driv­ers li­cense

The Morning Call - - TOWN SQUARE - Carl R. Beard­s­ley is ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

Be­gin­ning Oct. 1, 2020, the Real ID Law will be en­forced across the coun­try. This means that in or­der to board a do­mes­tic com­mer­cial air­line flight, all cit­i­zens will need Real ID­com­pli­ant li­censes, iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards or other forms of fed­er­ally ac­cept­able iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. By other forms of fed­er­ally ac­cepted iden­ti­fi­ca­tion I am mainly re­fer­ring to a United States pass­port.

Much like a li­cense, trav­el­ers will need to show air­line per­son­nel and Trans­porta­tion Se- cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion screen­ers their U.S. pass­ports each time they check in for flights.

The bot­tom line is that trav­el­ers who do not have a Real ID-com­pli­ant li­cense or a United States pass­port will not be able to board their flight.

Ob­vi­ously, this is im­por­tant to in­di­vid­u­als, but it also is im­por­tant to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton In­ter­na­tional Air­port. We at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton In­ter­na­tional Air­port are proud to be North­east­ern Pennsylvan­ia’s gate­way to the world. For pas­sen­gers who come to the air­port on or af­ter Oct. 1, 2020 without Real ID-com­pli­ant iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, that will mean the dis­ap­point­ment of not be­ing able to board their flights. This also will de­lay the rest of the trav­el­ing public.

I urge trav­el­ers to visit any Pen­nDOT REAL ID cen­ter or Pen­nDOT’s web­site at www.dmv.pa.gov/REALID to learn how to ob­tain a Real ID com­pli­ant li­cense. Pen­nDOT can also be reached at 717-412-5300. State leg­is­la­tors can be help­ful with this process, too.

Pennsylvan­ia’s air­ports are work­ing to spread the word about Real ID and to make compliance as con­ve­nient as pos­si­ble. While a co­or­di­nated ef­fort is un­der­way to reach out to the trav­el­ing public and other stake­hold­ers, more needs to be ac­com­plished by way of in­for­ma­tion and ac­tual reg­is­tra­tion.

The im­pe­tus for Real ID was the events of 9/11. Af­ter­wards, the fed­eral government be­gan to ex­plore ways to in­crease se­cu­rity sur­round­ing state driv­ers li­censes. In an at­tempt to pre­vent fur­ther ter­ror­ism, the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in 2005 passed a bill that was signed into law called the Real ID Act.

How­ever, in 2011 the Pennsylvan­ia Gen­eral Assem­bly passed Act 38, the Real ID Non-Par­tic­i­pa­tion Act, which pre­vented Pen­nDOT from work­ing in full compliance with the Real ID Act. Pennsylvan­ia was one of only a hand­ful of states that chose not to com­ply with the Real ID Act — at that time.

In 2017, the Avi­a­tion Coun­cil of Pennsylvan­ia and other or­ga­ni­za­tions worked with the state leg­is­la­ture to re­peal Act 38 and to de­velop leg­is­la­tion to move for­ward with compliance al­low­ing trav­el­ers to fly do­mes­ti­cally through Real ID par­tic­i­pa­tion. That was fi­nally ac­com­plished

Today, the re­spon­si­bil­ity for Real ID compliance falls to Pen­nDOT. This is due to the U.S. Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity re­quir­ing driv­ers li­censes, is­sued by all 50 states, to re­flect Real ID par­tic­i­pa­tion.

The fol­low­ing are some air travel facts/ob­ser­va­tions re­gard­ing Real ID:

■ Over 21 mil­lion air­line pas­sen­gers flew from Pennsylvan­ia air­ports in 2018.

■ Amer­i­can Air­lines es­ti­mates that over 87% of its pas­sen­gers fly only once a year for life events such as wed­dings, funer­als, grad­u­a­tions, etc.

■ Pen­nDOT es­ti­mates it will is­sue 10.6 mil­lion driv­ers li­censes/ID cards over the next 12 months and es­ti­mates 25% of those will be Real ID (ap­prox­i­mately 2.7 mil­lion). This num­ber is trou­bling, as we be­lieve such a compliance rate is too low. Many who nor­mally travel by air will not have the nec­es­sary iden­ti­fi­ca­tion to do so at such a rate.

■ Real ID re­quires a one-time fee of $30, plus a re­newal fee (cur­rent re­newal fee is $30.50 for a four–year non­com­mer­cial driv­ers li­cense or a photo ID).

This is a crit­i­cal change to air travel. Air trav­el­ers need to be ready for it or risk be­ing turned down at the gate.

Com­mer­cial air­ports across Pennsylvan­ia are ready, will­ing and able to help. Reach out to us with ques­tions about Real ID or as­sis­tance with the reg­is­tra­tion process.

Let’s keep fly­ing to­gether.


Trav­el­ers at Seat­tle-Ta­coma In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Seat­tle. Pas­sen­gers will need a Read ID-com­pli­ant li­cense or pass­port to board any flight be­gin­ning Oct. 1, 2020.

Carl R. Beard­s­ley

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