"Call John Gilmore and show him how to get on a plane without ID"


Reason has been ground zero for all things John Gilmore for years now, especially his battle against mysterious government ID regs for air travel. Well, they just got a whole lot stranger, at least to me.

Cryptome has posted an account from someone who says they have figured out how to fly without showing ID, or at least greatly reducing your chances of being carded. The key, says "Brad," is never refuse to show ID to the airline. They can demand it as a condition of the ticket. Everyone else, airport rent-a-cops, TSA, etc. can search you but not ID you. Go straight to the gate and chances are the airline will not ID you in the crush of boarding.

I have a hard time understanding why the airlines could not close any such loophole by simply stipulating everybody in the airport acts as their agent for purposes of ID. Still, it is an amusing story and perhaps someone else will care to try to re-enact it.

PS—Tasers sting like the devil.

NEXT: Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair

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  1. So after I get my boarding pass from the ticket counter, I just tell the guy at the security machine to “bite me” when he asks for my boarding pass and ID? Something tells me I wouldn’t make my flight.

    But I eagerly await stories from the field.

  2. I’m flying in a couple weeks; I’ll give it a try!

    PS – Tasers sting like the devil.

    Or… maybe not.

  3. Well, you’d probably make your flight, but you’d sure get a cheap thrill first ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Oh, come on! People like that give libertarians a bad game. You want to hear about the real “Gestapo”? Read a book on the Third Reich.

  5. Tasers really aren’t that bad. The anticipation is worse than the actual shock. Just relax and you’ll be fine.

  6. Tasers sting like the devil.

    Oh, be a pussy and let some scared-of-tasers pussy tell you want to do, pussy.

  7. Brad’s one of the foremost experts on identity-related matters I know of. If you go back through the PersonalOddysey archives you’ll find documentation of suits, citations, and requirements to show goverment ID or provide a SSN or TIN that he has successfully prosecuted.

    It’s really easy for him not to provide an SSN–he doesn’t have one, and yet he travels and earns a living in this country.

    Chew on that a little bit.

    Understand that for any of us to do the same thing would not be easy…I mean this guy researches the law and brings a set of leaflets on the matter to hand to the rent-a-cops he’s sure to encounter while getting on the airplane.

    Note that you can’t use his technique if you’re checking bags, even if you pre-print your boarding pass…the airline employee will ask for it when you hand your bag over.

  8. TSA doesn’t care about ID: they just want to make sure that, whoever you are, you’re not carrying anything on that you’re not supposed to carry.

  9. “TSA doesn’t care about ID: they just want to make sure that, whoever you are, you’re not carrying anything on that you’re not supposed to carry.”


  10. Clara: Don’t be so sure about that. You’d be amazed at what the rush of authority does to the airport security.

    The last time if flew I listened to two guards talking about a guy who one of them thought looked like a terrorist photo. (He didn’t, and argued about it, really pissed off the guard.) The other guard agreed with the passenger, that he didn’t look like the picture. The First guard retorted with “I can stop anyone at anytime, for any reason!” It’s a good thing he didn’t have one of those blue lights near his crotch

  11. I don’t really understand the point of what Brad did. Basically, he demonstrated that you CAN not show an ID, but that you will be wanded, patted down, and have your luggage tossed and searched instead. This is a victory? I think showing an ID is a wee bit less intrusive, no?

  12. Honestly, for as much as TSA actually looks at your ID, I can’t imagine why more people don’t just spend the 50 bucks for a fake ID. I get a much more thorough ID check going to a show that happens to be serving alcohol than I’ve ever received at the airport. Over half the time, the TSA seems to just be checking that you have ID.

  13. I’ve been using my student ID to board planes. It’s nothing but a laminated piece of plastic with my picture and my name, it doesn’t even have a birth date. Hell, the name on the ID doesn’t even match the one on the boarding pass perfectly (my full name didn’t fit on my SATs, so I’m just ‘John’ to my school), and I’ve never had any trouble at any airport in the country, including each major NYC airport.

    The ID checking is really just a measure to placate middle American paranoia. So are the searches and the metal detector for the most part. Nothing’s stopping anyone from smuggling a C4 buttplug onto a plane.

  14. Used plastic or a check even to buy the ticket? TSA already knows all-about you….
    Not Daniel

  15. I have figured out how to travel anonymously, armed, and for free. I had to fly every week for years to figure it out, but I now have the answer. It’s almost like being a citizen traveling in a free country. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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