Travel agencies and airlines ask for a “redress number” but what is this and why is it important?
What Is A Redress Number?
A few years ago, a new field began appearing on airline reservation forms. As part of a data-sharing initiative with the Department of Homeland Security and airlines, passengers who may be flagged can submit information regarding their case to avoid hassles while traveling.
“The Redress Control Number (redress number) allows the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program to match travelers with the results of their redress case. Secure Flight is a behind-the-scenes program that streamlines the watch list matching process. Airlines have modified their reservation system as part of the Secure Flight program. This improves the travel experience for all passengers, including those who have been misidentified in the past.” – DHS
Consider the unfortunate position of a person named Edward Snowden that is of no relation to that Edward Snowden. The unrelated Snowden would have a very difficult time traveling to or within the United States. A redress control number provides a process for someone to avoid unnecessary scrutiny. This could include denied boarding, secondary screening, denial from the TSA Precheck system, and the dreaded “SSSS” appearing on boarding passes.
A redress number is actually a good thing for those affected. Rather than go through the difficulty of additional security screening, entering a redress number makes it clear to the airline that the passenger is not who they are looking for.
How Do I Apply For A Redress Number?
To clarify, those frequent flyers who are often identified for additional screening are probably ineligible as they are not being targeted outside of their travel habits. For those with a genuine issue (such as the Snowden example), they can apply for the Travel Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP.) Travelers are generally told that they have been flagged, though they may not be told why for security reasons.
If you believe you have been incorrectly targeted, here are the steps to obtaining a TRIP redress number. Note: If multiple members of your family believe they have been incorrectly targeted, each need their own redress number and application.
- File a complaint through this form at the DHS.
- US Citizens should submit a copy of their recent passport. For those who are not naturalized citizens, they can submit documents from this list:
- Passport card
- Driver’s license
- Birth certificate (only for individuals under the age of 18)
- Military identification card
- Government identification card (federal/state/local number)
- Certificate of citizenship
- Naturalization certificate
- Immigrant/non-immigrant visa
- Alien registration
- Petition or claim receipt
- I-94 admission form
- FAST card
- SENTRI card
- NEXUS card
- Border crossing card
- SEVIS card
- Track results, wait, or reach out: TRIP@dhs.gov
Filing an inquiry for a traveler number (redress number) can help to solve the problem for travelers incorrectly targets. This can make the process of obtaining TSA Pre easier (though it’s not guaranteed) and entering the US through multiple ports of entry. However, the government takes as long to make a determination and respond to inquiries as they like. It could drag on for a considerable length of time. Carrying documents that demonstrate a traveler is who they say they are and that they are not who they say they are not, may expedite the process though not bypass additional security screening measures.
What do you think? Have you needed to apply for a TSA redress number? How was your experience?