Says, the Travel Nazi.
That’s right. Your birthday. Woo-hoo and happy birthday to you. I promise it’s not so I can steal your identity, or note a calendar reminder to send you an e-card. It’s not just that you were born, grew and could travel either – although that works fairly well.
The truth is, it’s a new TSA rule mandating a date of birth in all airline reservations. A requirement for travel agents, and airlines to obtain, before a passenger gets to the airport. To speed up the security process, avoid strip search, and identify more of the watched list persons, and not just the innocent folks who have the bad luck of sharing the same name as the watched list person – which is what happens now. It’s been coming down the pipe a long time, but now, it’s getting serious. My work requires we have the date of birth before we can even issue an airline ticket. No date of birth. No travel for you! NEXT!
I know I don’t talk about my job a lot. I have been a business travel agent for twenty years. Most of the time when I say that, people respond, “I didn’t know travel agents were still around?” And yes, yes we are. Sure the internet changed things. Now travelers can book flights all-by-themselves by the click of a mouse or tap of an app.
It’s a fancy thing. It’s a cool thing. It’s technology brilliance. I had no idea so many people were as talented as me, or travel agent wanna-bes. I have to admit, I don’t blame them, it’s a lot of fun. I book tickets online myself (or by app), when I have personal travel. It’s simple. But not everyone travels a simple round trip. Not every company trusts their employees to book the lowest fare and adhere to the policy guidelines. And lastly, not everyone CAN book themselves online, because they have (um) challenges. You know who you are, or maybe you don’t (ahem).
Our business took a dip 9/11, but not for long. It took another dip when the economy bellied up a few years ago, but also recovered. Flights are more booked than ever. It’s like spring break travel every week. Hotels are sold out again. Every car company in a city is booked. International travel is off the charts, despite the Iceland volcano ash cloud scare that disrupted flights for a month over Europe. Business is business, it has to go on. With all the telecommunication equipment, video conferencing, and virtual training, one would think travel would not be as demanding. It doesn’t have to be done “in-person” anymore.
Not true either, most customers, clients, and businesses understand, there is nothing like face-to-face. Many training and physical labor has to be done by hand. Sensitive information has to be transported in person. Conferences and people networking with handshakes and golf, not Facebook. Business travel is big business and even bigger if the company can save and track funds as much as possible, which is where I come in. I suggest lower fares. I advise company policy. I search. I shop. I track, and I book flights – keeping in mind the demands and limits, my dear business person has.
It’s a crazy travel life, but it’s my crazy travel life.
So, when I ask for your birth date and you get all “suspicious” of my motive. When your feathers ruffle at my request because that information is PRIVATE – Puh-leeze. I no more need to know your age than your favorite color. I am just doing my job and trying to make your travel experience more pleasant and care-free in the security line, like the good ol’ days. So before I bust out in song, “You say it’s your birthday! Dun, nun, nun, nun – It’s my birthday too – yeah!” I need your date of birth for your airline ticket, or no travel for you!
And by the way…..does your government issued ID have your middle name or initial on it? It has to match. Why do I need to know (sigh)…because the government told me to. Yes, I’ll wait while you look.
22 thoughts on “No Date of Birth, No Travel for you!”
“No Date of Birth, No Travel for you!”
Uh oh! Definitely don’t want to get on the travel nazi’s no travel list!
I booked our trip to Thailand/Korea last summer through a travel agent. Much more helpful and accommodating than a search algorithm.
Pop-International travel is definitely the hardest to book online without help. Using a travel agent gives you a fallback of information that the airlines don’t always give you. Like if a flight is cancelled, we can reaccomodate much faster and access all the options – no lines. It amazes me what they tell travelers sometimes about seat assignments, and availability. LOL.
What a fascinating job! Can you work from home? I’m just curious.
Last time I used a travel agent, I was working at Dreyer’s Ice Cream. We used agents to book our executives’ business trips.
Jean– I worked at home a few years. It is very common nowadays for airlines and agencies to have that arrangement. Saves money commuting! I actually work in an office though. I like that better. I’ve worked with the same agents for the entire 20 years!
Yes, travel is complicated these days…and people should be happy that airlines are doing the best they can to protect their passengers…scary times.
Suzicate-Exactly! Just like when the airlines don’t fly because of weather and they complain. Uh..hello? Would you rather be in a fiery ball crashing to the ground? Or inconvenienced? Alrighty then. 😀
Just like the soup nazi, but for travel! 🙂
Foxy-LOL. Love that soup Nazi! Can you tell?
Interesting. You must have been to some amazing places!
At least now I know who to call on IF I ever decide to travel. Sounds like your job is a little like insurance broker. Always searching for the better deals.
I wonder if having to give away so much private info has detered folks from flying? Probably not since most travel is business related. I’m just guessing.
Geez. Do you need my dress size too? Because you aren’t getting it! Lol.
I love searching for the perfect condo and hotel reservations and airline tickets. I thought about going back to school to be a travel agent actually. Then I decided to be a barely successful writer instead. Hmmph.
Do we have to give you the year or out birth as well? Oh, crap! Is nothing sacred anymore???
Could be worse I suppose, they could want a blood sample and your first born 🙂
I always thought that it wasn’t the age people worry about . . . . who cares . . . .it is because our birthday is used for so many things identity-wise.
Nice to know what you do.
You funny, now everybody funny!
Haha, do you think we’ll soon need a birth certificate to tag along, too? 😉
I’m flying to the US (for the first time) in November and I’m pretty nervous already. I pray that everything will go smoothly…
What does this mean for me, personally? I’m scheduling my color & touch up hair appointments more often and stocking up on the anti-wrinkle cream. With the word out about my age, I don’t want to look it! Or should I? I don’t want to raise any suspicion with the TSA. I just want to go on vacation!!! 🙂
That is the way things are looking like in this modern world,what about those full body scanners they are putting in?
Anyway the more security the better I guess.
what a hit title,
I hate scheduling travel. My sister-in-law makes it a personal challenge to get the best fares around…she’ll have 6 to 7 windows open on her computer doing all her “checking.” Me? I typically try one travel website and pray that it’s the cheapest…after all, it was probably divine intervention getting me to choose that specific website anyway, right? Mucking around would be like questioning God. And I don’t do that. I think your job sounds cool. 🙂
i always make sure that i got a hotel reservation at least 1 week in advance to ensure that i got a reservation ,`,
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