Last updated: 04:21 PM ET, Mon September 21 2015

Writer Uses Costco Card As ID For Flight

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | September 21, 2015

Writer Uses Costco Card As ID For Flight

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

That membership fee to join bulk wholesaler Costco? Yeah, that just paid for itself.

A travel writer for the website MapHappy legitimately — no, the following was not some sort of social experiment — lost her driver’s license prior to a flight from Los Angeles to Chicago recently. Instead of fighting L.A. traffic and trying to go back and retrieve it, she pressed on at the airport and hoped for the best.

So she flashed the one card she had that also contained her picture — her Costco card — in addition to some credit cards and other items that had her name on it.


The Transportation Security Administration let her through security, although agents did tell her she needed, and she agreed to, a pat-down security check.

Upon successfully navigating her adventure, the writer realized it wasn’t a fluke.

“Turns out the whole thing is pretty kosher,” Erica Ho wrote. “Even the TSA states you can do this on their website.”

In fact — and who knew? — the TSA also has a sense of humor about it. In a 2013 blog post on its website, the TSA wrote:

“Simply approach the travel document checker and let them know that you don’t have your ID. At this point, you will be asked a simple randomly computer generated question such as: “What is the average annual rainfall in the Amazon basin?” Seriously though… You’ll be able to fly as long as you provide us with some information that will help us determine you are who you say you are.

“If you’re willing to provide some additional information, we have other means of substantiating your identity, such as using publicly available databases. If we can confirm your identity, you’ll be cleared to go through security, and you may or may not have to go through some additional screening.”

Costco. More than just the place to buy 24 rolls of toilet paper and 14 pounds of frozen lasagna.

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