Richard is my given name but I gave it back. Now I need it again.
As a conference speaker, I sometimes have the situation arise where I am (gratefully) traveling on someone else’s dime. In these cases, it is normal for the conference staff to arrange for you travel. I never gave it a second thought as I reviewed my provided itinerary that the name under which my ticket was being booked did not match the name on my government-issued identity card. I have traveled as “Rikk” for decades now-without issue-until Thursday.
When I travel to Costa Rica for Worldesigns Photo’s Costa Rica tour, I am always careful to provide information which exactly matches my US Passport. I want to make the trip out of and back into the country with as little difficulty as possible.
Last week, I was winding through security in Atlanta, on my homeward leg of the domestic round trip, when I was stopped due to a “non-standard” nickname. I am Richard. I know other “Richards”. Some of them are also “Ricks”, “Dicks”, “Rics” and “Riches”. I am not the only “Rikk” in the world but according to TSA, I am not able to travel under the name which I use personally and professionally since my childhood.
You can shave off your beard and they don’t bat an eye. You can loose or gain weight rendering the ID’s description inaccurate. You can even move, making the address wrong- just don’t dare, use a name that the rest of the world knows you by.
I have to give props to Delta Airlines for walking me through TSA. Even though they had fumbled a couple of customer service opportunities earlier in the day (baggage check and reissuance of tickets with the correct name), they fought with me at the TSA checkpoint to ensure I could complete the return leg of my round-trip ticket.
The world isn’t what it was so use your full name.
Richard Flohr (Rikk) © 2009