Do you have a REAL ID yet? If you fly, you have until Oct 2020.

Posted By on September 15, 2019

The Wall Street Journal Middle Seat writer reminds us that in about a year, just before the 2020 election, there will likely be a few more airport delays and angry passengers attempt to use their “old” driver’s licenses as an ID in order to pass through the TSA screening line. UGH! One can only imagine the frustration of getting to the airport only to be turn away because the ID that you’ve been using for years is no longer valid due to the new REAL ID regulationsor standing in line behind angry travelers in that situation.

Check out Scott McCartney’s WSJ MiddleSeat column or follow @MiddleSeat on Twitter.

I discovered another difference between my wife’s travel preferences and mine this weekend: Her driver’s license is compliant with REAL ID regulations, and mine is not. tsaidlookActually, a TSA screener at Raleigh-Durham International Airport discovered it for me.

This week’s Middle Seat (by coincidence) looks at the looming hassle ahead for travelers because of REAL ID. If you use your license as your ID, and most of us do, then you may have an unexpected trip to the DMV within the next year. That’s even more fun than a TSA patdown.

Starting Oct. 1, 2020, your license has to have a REAL ID star on it, or you have to use your passport at TSA, if you have a current passport. Or you’ll probably miss your flight. TSA says after numerous extensions, it’s not kidding this time—REAL ID is going to happen next year.

We’ll see. The prospect of millions of angry travelers right before an election probably isn’t good politics. In a few states, you still can’t even get a driver’s license that complies with REAL ID requirements. But telling everyone they have to comply by a certain date and then saying "just kidding" isn’t good policy, either.

REAL ID may turn out to be a real mess.

Safe travels,

Scott McCartney

Find me on Twitter @MiddleSeat, or email

Updated: Due to Coronavirus, the new date for Real ID is now October 1, 2021.


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.