There’s been countless stories, here at Gadling and elsewhere, of people mistakenly added to TSA’s no-fly or terrorist watch lists. In fact, the lists currently hold 700,000 names–which simple logic should tell you means more than quite a few are just hapless law-abiding citizens.
Even names like John Thompson and James Wilson are on the lists. Scary! If you’re on it, you face a multitude of hassles: no online check-in, no use of the airport kiosks, incessant questioning by ticket agents, extra pat-downs at the security checkpoints, and sometimes even detention (which means missing your flight).
So what’s the easiest way to avoid all this? Not the official Traveler Redress Inquiry Program, or TRIP, which was started last year and serves as the formal process for getting yourself off the list. Surprisingly, the best solution is the easiest: use your middle name. Most often the watch lists do not include middle names and you’re allowed to fly with just middle name – last name.