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Another redress number question : do I need/want one?

Montreal, Canada
posts: 537
reviews: 43
Another redress number question : do I need/want one?

Hi all.

Let me quickly explain my situation :

Flight from YUL to MIA : unable to print boarding pass at home. Arrive at airport, get SSSS, along with a not-so-nice US customs agent (could be a coincidence, but I highly doubt it). On our way back, no problems. It was aleatory after all!


A few months later


Flight from YUL to PLS, connecting at YYZ : unable to print boarding pass at home. Déjà-vu. Thought it was a good idea to go 3 hours in advance to the airport for our flight. At the airport the airline employee explained that my name was similar or identical to another person who has problems with TSA, and since we're flying over the USA, then TSA flags me. She had to call their head office and homeland security to clear me for the YYZ-PLS leg. We spent 1 hour at the counter with the nice lady, which got my wife and I a $20 voucher for airport food (even though it's not the airline's fault). Not bad, but still a PIA. I was glad I planned for a 3 hour cushion.

On our way back from PLS to YUL, connecting at YYZ : same thing. Airline employee had to make that "phone call" again and seemed nervous at my sight. I told her it was something I was used to, and I knew who she was calling (thanks to her colleague in Montreal explaining the situation). Why do they even try to hide what they're doing? Made me feel like a criminal getting investigated. Ugh...

Question is : do I need a redress number?

Furthermore, do I want one? Are there any disadvantages of getting one?

Read stories of people getting "cleared" just by applying for a number (without actually getting one).

Comments? Opinions?


Edited: 10:29 pm, May 05, 2013
Detroit, MI
Destination Expert
for Detroit, Travel Gadgets and Gear
posts: 5,280
1. Re: Another redress number question : do I need/want one?

I would not read too much into peoples reactions to you. Customs/Immigration tend to be jerks to begin with. Airline employees don't know why you are on a list, only that you are on a list. I've seen reports recently that there are over a million people on various watchlists.

TSA is a highly incompetent agency. Getting a redress number might help, might do nothing, might make you waste hours in a bureaucratic nightmare. I would check the Travel Safety forum over at Flyertalk. I know there are some that have gone through the process over there.

Montreal, Canada
posts: 537
reviews: 43
2. Re: Another redress number question : do I need/want one?

Thanks tev9999,

I also posted this over at Flyertalk :) Thanks for your input.


3. Re: Another redress number question : do I need/want one?

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