The Business of Travel


The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association

Podcast: The Current Status of REAL ID – Is Your State Compliant?

This week’s episode of The Business of Travel features a recent GBTA webinar on the REAL ID Act. Steve Yonkers, Director of the REAL ID Program for the Department of Homeland Security, provides an update on the implementation of REAL ID giving you an understanding on what states are still not compliant and what progress is being made, as well as how REAL ID applies to state issued driver’s licenses and ID cards and what alternatives there are for identification at security checkpoints if your state is not compliant.

This episode is presented by the GBTA Government Relations Committee in an effort to keep you up to date as more unfolds on REAL ID and to minimize any disruption for your travelers.



For more information, you can visit the DHS REAL ID website.

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Week in Review

Happy New Year! The Week in Review is back in action to inform you of the latest news and trends in business travel.

Travelers were in for quite the ride this week, as winter storms and unfavorable weather conditions wreaked havoc on travel worldwide.

On Wednesday morning, Storm Eleanor’s high gusts and rain disrupted travel throughout the United Kingdom, Buying Business Travel reports.  

In the United States, airlines canceled 4,000 flights on Thursday due to the winter “bomb cyclone” spanning across the East Coast, according to USA TODAY.

Delhi’s international airport started off the new year with hundreds of flight delays, diversions and cancellations, as a dense fog enveloped the city, Business Traveller reports.  

In more uplifting news, United Press International shares findings from a new report suggesting 2017 was the safest year for commercial airline travel. The report claims there were 111 total accidents with only two resulting in fatalities.

Leading up to our 50th Annual Convention in San Diego, we’ll be featuring weekly Throwback Thursday (#TBT) posts and sharing pieces of history from Convention, the travel management industry and general travel industry. This week, we took a look at the early years, when GBTA was originally founded as the National Passenger Traffic Association in 1968.

USA TODAY claims Hilton is changing its “Do Not Disturb” sign policy. The brand is advising team members to alert security if a sign has been on a guest’s door for over 24 hours.Buying Business Travel notes Concur rebranded as SAP Concur as the two brands continue to combine. SAP completed its acquisition of Concur over three years ago in December 2014.

Heathrow reduced its airport fees for domestic flights by £15, Business Traveller reports.

The TSA will begin enforcing REAL ID requirements at U.S. airports this month, but for now, there’s no need to worry. Skift notes the passenger deadline has been extended for driver’s license requirements on domestic flights.

According to Skift, IAG plans to acquire Austria’s Niki Air in a $24 million deal. The same source notes expense reporting software Chrome River raised $35 million in funding.

As we go into the new year, TheStreet notes airfare prices and hotel prices are expected to rise 3.5% and 3.7%, respectively.


Your list for this week comes from Tnooz:

The Top Six Technology Priorities for Airports in 2018

DHS' Steve Yonkers Updates GBTA Legislative Summit Attendees on Real ID

Steve Yonkers, Director of Identity and Credentialing, Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Policy, Screening Coordination Office spoke about REAL ID issues at the 15th Annual GBTA Legislative Summit, an event that brings more than 100 travel professionals to Washington, D.C. to meet with lawmakers to share opinions on key issues.

Yonkers provided background on REAL ID, which was passed by Congress in 2005, and enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation. He said having a secure driver’s license and identification documents are vital components of national security. Yonkers explained to attendees that REAL ID will establish minimum standards for security.

It will only apply to entering a nuclear power plant, accessing Federal facilities and military bases and boarding regulated commercial aircraft.

Yonkers stressed that this does not create a national ID or database and that currently 26 states are in compliance.

GBTA will have a state-by-state update coming to the blog soon.

REAL ID Update

Today, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson, delivered a statement on the final phase of implementation for the REAL ID Act. Many have worried that Phase 4 – stopping a person with a non-compliant ID from boarding an airplane – is just days away. That is not the case, however. In fact, travelers will have until January 22, 2018.

In his statement, Secretary Johnson emphasized,

"Right now, no individual needs to adjust travel plans, or rush out to get a new driver’s license or a passport for domestic air travel.  Until January 22, 2018, residents of all states will still be able to use a state-issued driver’s license or identification card for domestic air travel. Passengers can also continue to use any of the various other forms of identification accepted by TSA (such as a Passport or Passport Card, Global Entry card, U.S. military ID, airline or airport-issued ID, federally recognized tribal-issued photo ID).

Travelers are encouraged to check the REAL ID compliance status of their state on the DHS website and review TSA’s list of acceptable forms of identificationTravelers may also check with their state’s driver’s licensing agency about how to acquire a REAL ID compliant license."  

What You Need to Know About Real ID

Real ID is a federal law passed as part of the 9/11 Commission in 2005 and requires states to issue standardized ID cards and driver’s licenses that include new technology. The intent of the law is to prevent forged documents and inhibit terrorism. There are four states that have yet to comply with the law or communicate to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on how it will meet the requirements. These states are Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New York.

Check out this FAQ from DHS for a full rundown on Real ID.

Initial phases of implementing Real ID had to do with access to federal buildings. The final phase of Real ID has to do with boarding airlines. According to Minnesota Public Radio, this has Minnesotans wondering whether they will need a new ID to fly in 2016.

If Minnesota does not take action, then Federal agencies will not recognize a Minnesota driver’s license as a valid ID, and this could have a huge impact on the boarding of commercial airlines. Drastically increased wait time at the airport could result, negatively impacting the business travel industry, which depends on many of the airport efficiencies that TSA and the airlines have improved upon over the last decade. Federal officials did visit Minnesota this week to try to persuade state lawmakers to comply with ID card standards required by the federal government.

If you live in Minnesota, tell your elected officials to take action now to resolve this issue.

If you need more information, please contact me at