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British Airways to insist on photo ID for domestic flights from 1st September

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From 1st September, British Airways is making a major change to its ID rules for domestic flights.

At the moment, BA suggests you bring some photo ID with you but it is not compulsory.

From 1st September, the rules change – no acceptable photo ID will presumably mean no travel.

British Airways to insist on photo ID for domestic flights from 1st September

What are the new ID rules for BA domestic flights?

Here are the new rules as shown on this page of ba.com, although they do not actually come into force until 1st September:

You do not require a passport to travel within the UK, but you will need to carry one type of photographic ID when travelling with us. Examples include:

  • Valid passport
  • Valid driving license [sic], either provisional or full
  • Valid EU national identity card
  • Valid armed forces identity card
  • Valid police warrant card or badge

Children under the age of 16 do not need to show identification when travelling on domestic flights. The adult they are travelling with must travel with photographic identification and be able to confirm their identity.

Children aged 14 and 15 years who are flying alone will need to show identification when travelling on domestic flights.

What are the current ID rules for BA domestic flights?

For comparison, here are the old rules which were removed from ba.com in recent days:

If you are flying solely within the UK, including Northern Ireland, you do not need a passport but we advise that you carry photographic identification with you when travelling, such as your passport or driving licence. This may be requested at certain points in your journey. Children under the age of 16 years do not require identification to travel within the UK.

Communication of this policy change has been poor – I am guessing that 95% of people reading this article will not know about it, even if they have domestic flights booked.

The list of acceptable ID is also quite tight and is, for example, stricter than the new rules for voting. Some people will struggle to comply with these requirements, especially older people who may have given up driving and let their passport expire.

It is not clear what is driving the change. It is not driven by the Civil Aviation Authority, which said in response to a query:

UK aviation security regulations do not require a passenger’s identity to be checked for security purposes prior to boarding a domestic flight, in the same way when travelling within the mainland on a train or bus. Any further requirement on behalf of the carrier to provide identification may be a condition of travel by the carrier itself.

You can find out more on ba.com here.

Hat-tip to Alastair Jamieson of The Independent for doing the digging on this story – his article is here.


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Comments (190)

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  • Matarredonda says:

    Surely this just brings BA in line with Easyjet? Ryanair have always required passport ID.
    Probably a reaction to Government action to curb movement of, so called illegal migrants, who have not yet got full papers to remain in the UK.
    Personally it has always amazed me how free and easy BA has been.

    • lumma says:

      Ryanair wasn’t always passport required for Ireland and domestic flights but you did need photo ID like this

  • Linda says:

    If you’re flying from MAN take a passport anyway. The cameras at security are rubbish so when they check you again at the pre- entrance to the gate, it often fails to match. This entails one guy and a long queue to resolve. We’d have missed out last LHR flight but fortunately (?) the crew were over an hour late because their taxi from the hotel hadn’t turned up! The guy used passports to validate ID

  • Errol says:

    I find it most bizarre that anyone would travel domestically without ID. What happens if you need to travel overseas, hire a car, withdraw a large amount of cash from your bank, check into a hotel etc whilst on your domestic trip?

    • redlilly says:

      Some people travel domestically with work and don’t think to travel with their passports. In my last job I regularly flew London to Edinburgh return and never took my passport, like I would never take my passport on the LNER trains (the latter even today) between the two cities.

    • Derek Broughton says:

      I find it most bizarre that _anybody_ would plan on spur-of-the-moment overseas travel while travelling domestically, or need to hire a car (though the only reason I wouldn’t have a drivers licence with me is if I didn’t HAVE one). I can get 3500 our of ATMs (daily – admittedly only 400 at a time). And I’ve never needed photo ID to check into a UK hotel (and would refuse to use that hotel if it happened — I know there are a few that think they have that right).

      All that said, I completely don’t get the need for “valid” photo ID — expired passports, licenses, etc, should be sufficient as long as the photo is still recognizably you.

      • NorthernLass says:

        We were asked for ID at the HIEX at LHR T3 a couple of months ago. They may not have a legal basis to demand it but they are perfectly within their rights to make it a hotel policy and refuse to honour your booking if you can’t produce it – much like nightclubs can require you to be searched as a condition of entry.

        • Bernie says:

          Can they though? I refuse to give my ID at a hotel in the UK. Not a problem though, because 99% of the time it is not asked for (give or take a few LHR hotels that I just hand it to anyway because I can’t be arsed putting them to rights). We don’t do ID in the UK and quite rightly so too. In terms of flights with BA though, I’ve always carried my driving licence with me since I was stopped from flying from NCL to LHR on a random check by the NCL Gestapo. [The NCL border ‘force’, by the way, makes MAN look like angels. Everyone says the Geordies are friendly. They are not. If the NCL Border Force had guns (which I suspect they wish they had), I’d be dead by now several times over. Bunch of arrogant lazy xxxxx.

      • Mike says:

        Many hotels ask for photo ID, last time I was asked was in the last two weeks (in Liverpool, small independent hotel), the time before that was the weekend before that in London (large international chain). Personally, I don’t think they should ask (even worse are the ones that photocopy it) but the alternative is to walk, which I’ve no urge to do at 10pm at night or having traveled down to London (additionally, it would be interesting to see how well you get on demanding a refund).

    • John says:

      I’d go home to get my overseas bag first.

    • Flynn says:

      I find it most bizarre that anyone would travel domestically with ID. Clearly you are demonstrating that you are one of the potentially wealthiest 11%. 🙂

  • Ian says:

    As always with these changes I find myself at a loss to know what elderly people are expected to do. My mother and aunt have had neither valid driving licence nor passport for several years: do they show their bus pass?!?

  • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

    So glad that Ireland issues credit card sized passport cards alongside passport books. My passport card sits in my wallet at all times; whether needed for collecting packages, checking into hotels or if I had to travel at short notice while away from home. (To answer Derek above, if you have older parents abroad then the need to travel immediately can and does arise)

    I wouldn’t be keen carrying my passport book around at all times.

    • redlilly says:

      Ditto! It’s great isn’t it. Loved also that the Irish government were advertising the passport card in the toilets of the Aviva stadium last weekend, during the rugby, for those travelling to the Rugby World Cup!!

      Would just be great if BA staff members get better at understanding that you can use the card to travel. On at least 10 occassions, I have had to explain trying to both leave and travel to the UK that it is a valid document for exit to the EU and entry back in to the UK. Some of the staff members had no idea what the card is!!

      • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

        That’s the confusion caused by the UK now requiring EU citizens to show passport books rathee than national ID cards. Even though the FCDO website clearly states that Irish passport cards remain fine, I’ve always had it refused when shown to board a UK-bound flight (except when departing DUB)

    • masaccio says:

      But that’s state ID and babies get eaten, or puppies, or something. I never quite figured it out.

    • Brian P says:

      Why are you not using your Irish diving licence? Same thing.

  • Nicholas Pike says:

    I must confess to being astonished that photo ID was not required to fly on any BA flight- or indeed any flight anywhere. I always carry my driver’s licence with me as I find it’s often requested., particularly now for offices in the City of London- a new trend. Separately, as I have just posted on the Business Traveller forum, Hilton in the UK are asking for photo ID on check in. Some may object, but it doesn’t bother me.

  • masaccio says:

    Sorry if I missed this earlier in the thread, but isn’t it just because of the automated gate security at Heathrow? I thought it was hilarious when we boarded for Athens a couple of weeks back that we had to have ID manually checked at the gate. The same system at HKIA stores your photo at checkin/transfer and then uses facial recognition to speed up transition through later security.

    • John says:

      No, your photo is captured on entry to security and linked to your passport which you provide at that time, and then the photo is used to board without needing a BP.

      It doesn’t work if you use a different passport later, which I did for an experiment.

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