TSA and Ad Council raise awareness of Secure Flight program as part of national public education campaign

Archived Content

Please note that older content is archived for public record. This page may contain information that is outdated and may not reflect current policy or programs.

If you have questions about policies or procedures, please contact the TSA Contact Center.

Members of the news media may contact TSA Public Affairs.

National Press Release
Thursday, May 21, 2009
WASHINGTON - To coincide with Memorial Day and the start of the summer travel season, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is continuing their partnership with the Ad Council to launch a national public awareness campaign that educates passengers about TSA's upcoming Secure Flight program, a collaborative effort with the airlines that enhances watch list matching through a phased-in approach.

"TSA is partnering with airlines and the Ad Council to educate passengers about the Secure Flight program that makes travel safer and easier for millions of Americans," said TSA Acting Administrator Gale Rossides. "Secure Flight will also help reduce the misidentification of passengers who have names similar to individuals on government watch lists, clearing more than 99 percent of passengers for travel."

Secure Flight is a phased-in partnership program between TSA and airlines in response to a key 9/11 Commission recommendation: uniform watch list matching by TSA. The mission of the Secure Flight program is to enhance the security of domestic and international commercial air travel through the use of improved watch list matching. TSA is taking over this responsibility from aircraft operators who, up until now, have been responsible for checking passengers against government watch lists. Secure Flight will further strengthen security by continuing to identify individuals that may pose a known or suspected threat to aviation.

Over the coming months when booking airline travel, travelers may be asked to provide their name as it appears on the government ID they plan to use when traveling. Later this summer, airlines will also begin asking passengers to provide their date of birth and gender. TSA's goal is for Secure Flight to be fully implemented in early 2010 for all domestic flights and the end of 2010 for all international flights.

Secure Flight is a phased in process for both TSA and the airlines -- each airline will incorporate changes into their systems over the coming months as their capability to capture passenger data is integrated into their individual systems. If a passenger is not prompted to provide this additional information by a particular airline, they should not be concerned as it should not impact their travel.

"This critical campaign will continue to raise public awareness about the important role that travelers play in the airport security process, while educating them about the latest security procedures through the Secure Flight program," said Peggy Conlon, President & CEO of the Ad Council. "We are proud to continue this initiative with TSA, which will make it safer and easier for travelers throughout the country."

TSA's passenger feedback shows that travelers are more willing to cooperate with airport security when they better understand the reasoning behind the measures. The campaign aims to improve security by encouraging airline passengers to become better prepared for security processes, thereby resulting in a more positive experience. The campaign also builds upon TSA's ongoing commitment to communicating why certain procedures and requirements are an important part of airport security. For example, the campaign explains the new Secure Flight program, as well as why travelers are asked to remove shoes and coats, limit liquids to three ounces and show their IDs.

First launched in November 2008, campaign activities have been conducted during the nation's busiest travel times. The campaign employs a series of informational videos airing in airports and online, social media strategies, as well as national radio sponsorships and public relations tactics in an effort to communicate with the travelling public during these travel periods. All of the campaign strategies direct audiences to visit www.tsa.gov to find travel tips, local airport information, and answers to your questions about airline security.

This is the first time the Ad Council has partnered with TSA on a public education effort. Since 2003, the Ad Council has been working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on the Ready Campaign designed to encourage all Americans to prepare for emergencies.


TSA is a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that was formed following the tragedies of September 11, 2001. TSA protects the nation's transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce. Its 45,000 transportation security officers are responsible for airport security at more than 450 U.S. airports.

The Advertising Council

The Ad Council (www.adcouncil.org) is a private, non-profit organization that marshals talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to produce, distribute and promote public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies in issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well-being, environmental preservation and strengthening families.