John Smiths of the World Beware

Blame your parents. The
WP reports that life is tough in
these heady days of terror alerts for those with common names. Poor folks like James Rogers who sometimes find
themselves victims of mistaken identity when their names show up on the government’s “no-fly” lists.

The federal list has come under increased scrutiny lately because of celebrities stopped at the airport. Yusuf
Islam, the pop singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, was barred from the country because his name is one of 20,000 on
the list. And politicians, including Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), chairman of the
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, were stopped because their names resembled those of someone on the

Many others who aren’t famous are just as frustrated, like Rogers, Smith and Johnson and the more than 2,000
people who have complained about such mix-ups to the Transportation Security Administration.

For such travelers, the first sign of trouble often comes when they try to use airport ticket kiosks, the ATM-like
machines that save travelers time by allowing them to avoid the lines at the ticket counters. Each time they swipe a
credit card to obtain a boarding pass, a message pops up telling them to see one of the airline’s ticketing

 What a drag! Certainly there’s got to be a better way.