Traveler delayed when TSA agents fail to recognize D.C. as valid address


Some Transportation Security Administration officers appear to be confused about the location of the District of Columbia, the U.S. capital city, which caused a huge problem with one traveler at an airport recently.

Eleanor Holmes Norton (D – D.C.), who is a non-voting Delegate to the United States House of Representatives, sent a letter to TSA Administrator David Pekoske on Tuesday, in which she informed him of a “chronic problem” with TSA agents in regards to valid I.D. She recounted the plight of one Washington, D.C. resident who ran into trouble with her drivers license at the Newark International Airport.

According to Holmes Norton’s letter, a TSA officer could not immediately confirm that the D.C. resident’s I.D. was valid. Questioning the license, the TSA agent had to consult with colleagues before approving the I.D., after which the agent finally allowed the D.C. resident to catch her flight, although she almost missed it due to the confusion.

“As I am sure you can imagine, it can be humiliating for a U.S. citizen to be delayed because a federal government employee does not recognize the name of the District of Columbia,” Del. Holmes Norton wrote in the letter.

Holmes Norton said the confusion began when D.C. officials replaced “Washington D.C.” with “the District of Columbia” in the official I.D.’s in 2014. This year, officials have decided to return to using the term “Washington D.C.” in the I.D’s, which may help.

However, Holmes Norton suggested that with high turnover rates within the TSA, and with continued training programs, more emphasis should be placed on making agents aware of all of the different forms of I.D.’s in circulation, to avoid unnecessary delays.


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