Real ID = Real challenge

Passengers from Maine, Montana, New Hampshire and South Carolina will not be able to pass airport security with a license when the Real ID mandate goes into effect.

Real ID requires licenses to have multiple security features; Maine, Montana, New Hampshire and South Carolina have no intention of reissuing licenses.

So, passengers from these states will have to use military IDs or passports. If passengers have neither, they will go through extra screening.

Are airports ready?

Columbia Metropolitan Airport is working with other Palmetto state airports to educate the public about the change through media coverage and newspaper advertisements.

“At this point, the public is very unaware,” executive director Mike Flack tells me, adding the airport is surveying passengers to determine how many have passports and or military IDs.

Passengers aren’t the only ones feeling out of the loop.

“[We] don’t have a lot of guidance from TSA. We don’t know what they’ll require. … [They] haven’t said what they’ll do,” Flack says.

His strategy is to encourage South Carolinians to arrive at any airport two hours early for extra screening, instead of his currently prescribed 90 minutes.

Not only will the airport have longer security lines with the implementation of Real ID on May 11, it will also have an influx of travellers when Spirit Airlines launches service to Fort Lauderdale on May 22.

“May is going to be a big month,” Flack says.

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