The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is responsible for making sure people are safe when traveling and is particularly known for long security lines in airports. One of the security measures TSA uses is to check the drivers’ licenses of passengers.
But there’s a problem when TSA agents don’t know basic U.S. geography, particularly that both Washington, D.C., and Hawaii are indeed still part of America. One misunderstanding might be understandable, but TSA agents have made this embarrassing mistake multiple times, most recently on July 12 with Justin Gray, D.C. resident and reporter.
According to ABC central Florida affiliate WFTV, Gray was flying from Orlando International Airport when the validity of his license was called into question. A TSA agent said that Gray’s license wasn’t a valid form of identification and asked to see his passport.
Gray didn’t have his passport and learned that the TSA agent wanted it because he didn’t recognize the D.C. license. Gray also learned that the TSA agent didn’t know what the District of Columbia is.
But Gray did get through security and complained to a supervisor on the other side. And he tweeted about it.
. @TSA Agent in Orlando never heard of “District of Columbia.” Demanded passport because he didn’t believe my drivers license was from US!?
— Justin Gray (@grayjustin) July 12, 2014
A TSA spokesman confirmed that a D.C. license is indeed a valid form of ID to get through security. And TSA agents in Orlando are being shown D.C. driver’s licenses now.
. @TSA says every Orlando agent being shown pic of DC license after agent didn’t know what “District of Columbia” is & demanded my passport
— Justin Gray (@grayjustin) July 14, 2014
But this isn’t the first time D.C.’s inclusion in America has been questioned by TSA. In February, a D.C. resident was trying to fly back to the nation’s capitol after a trip to the Grand Canyon.
She going through airport security in Phoenix when she was asked if she had her passport because the TSA agent “didn’t know if we can accept these,” according to the Washington Post.
Her boyfriend had successfully gone through security in another line, without any problems.
Holy. Shit. TSA @ PHX asked for gf’s passport because her valid DC license deemed invalid b/c ‘DC not a state’
— Chewy (@CapCityChewy) February 18, 2014
The Post reports that Ashley Brandt successfully used her license to get to Arizona, but a TSA agent in Phoenix had to ask another if a D.C. license is a valid ID.
And yes, it is. The TSA’s website lists 15 acceptable types of identification, with the only unacceptable form of ID noted is a weapon permit.
But wait, there’s more! On June 27, another D.C. resident was stopped in a TSA line, this time at Boston Logan International Airport.
— FitzinDistrict (@FitzInDistrict) June 27, 2014
But D.C. driver’s license holders aren’t the only ones encountering problems. Hawaii, too, apparently is no longer part of the U.S (or at least a TSA agent thinks Hawaii licenses aren’t valid).
— Shanna (@ShannaNews) July 15, 2014