U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Barnes testified before a Senate subcommittee Thursday on the looming October 1, 2020 deadline set to hit American air travel. 


“REAL ID represented the most secure form of identification when it was conceived in 2005, but technology has advanced greatly in the past 14 years,” Barnes told the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Security. “There is an opportunity to bring security into the future, rather than just working to meet the requirements of the past.”

Research by U.S. Travel and Longwoods International previously found that 57% of Americans are unaware that next October 1 is the deadline for having a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license—or an acceptable alternative such as a U.S. passport—to board a domestic flight. The research also estimated that 99 million Americans are currently without any kind of REAL ID-compliant identification.

Barnes summarized U.S. Travel’s policy proposals for getting ahead of the REAL ID problem, which include:

  • Accepting CLEAR and TSA Precheck membership as alternatives to REAL ID;
  • Allowing application for REAL IDs online;
  • Accelerating the implementation of biometrics as a means to securely identify travelers; and
  • Developing procedures for screening passengers who show up to the airport without a REAL ID.

“Turning travelers away at the checkpoint is not an option,” Barnes told the committee.

Read Barnes’ full testimony here.


U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing the $1.3 trillion travel industry, an essential contributor to our nation's economy and success. U.S. Travel produces programs and insights and advocates for policies to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit ustravel.org for more information.



Cathy Reynolds

Manager, Media Relations and Lead Manager, IPW Press Operations

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Tim Alford

Manager, Media Relations

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