The airline industry may be in the midst of a travel rebound, but officials are concerned about potential issues with the upcoming REAL ID deadline.
According to ABCNews.com, travelers must have a REAL ID-issued driver’s license or federally approved identification card if they will fly domestically starting on October 1, but only 43 percent of IDs are currently compliant.
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With 118 million of the 274 million state-issued driver’s licenses being REAL ID-compliant, there are concerns millions of travelers could be denied access to flights in the fall. For an industry already devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the looming deadline is alarming.
U.S. Travel Association executive vice president Tori Emerson Barnes told ABC News there are real concerns about the lack of Americans who either don’t know about the upcoming changes or have been hindered during the pandemic by the shutdown of local DMV facilities.
“The last thing the air industry and travelers need is another delay,” Barnes said.
While states and airlines have been working to remind travelers about the REAL ID regulations, the U.S. Travel Association, the National Governors Association and other groups are calling for an extension on the October 1 deadline.
The original October 2020 deadline was extended by a year in March 2020 due to COVID-19.
A spokesperson for the United States Department of Homeland Security told ABC News that the agency “is assessing the necessity to move the enforcement date.”
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