Getting a lot of SSSS's because of last name?

Old Jul 2, 07, 2:52 pm
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Getting a lot of SSSS's because of last name?

I seem to get flagged for additional screening more than the average bear. It isn't every time, but it seems like more than most people. I'd say I fly once every 1-2 months and it's usually either SFO-PIT or to other places in/around CA. I don't take one way flights often but I have a few in my history, as well as last minute purchases (sometimes we decide to go to San Diego or Vegas at the last second!). I always figured it was that, but someone told me that because I have an extremely common last name (most popular in the US, go ahead try to stalk me), that is cause for common additional screening. I know it's not a match with someone on the No Fly since it doesn't happen every time, so what else could it be?
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Old Jul 3, 07, 12:51 am
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Originally Posted by horse glasses View Post
I seem to get flagged for additional screening more than the average bear. It isn't every time, but it seems like more than most people. I'd say I fly once every 1-2 months and it's usually either SFO-PIT or to other places in/around CA. I don't take one way flights often but I have a few in my history, as well as last minute purchases (sometimes we decide to go to San Diego or Vegas at the last second!). I always figured it was that, but someone told me that because I have an extremely common last name (most popular in the US, go ahead try to stalk me), that is cause for common additional screening. I know it's not a match with someone on the No Fly since it doesn't happen every time, so what else could it be?
There is another list (from what I understand), known as the selectee list. Since you are not hit every time, I doubt that is the case.

It could be something with your flying habits or perhaps a bit of bad luck.

I haven't been nailed on a one-way in a long time <knock on wood>. Last minute trips will often get you SSSS'd, especially if you buy/ticket at the airport.

If you have an established frequent flyer account, that will often offset an SSSS. Is it one particular carrier that is nailing ya with the dreaded S's or is this happening on many carriers? Do many of the trips involve codeshare flights on other airlines -- or have you had tix changed at the last minute?

Are you buying online at the airline website in advance or at a TA?

Best of luck!
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Old Jul 3, 07, 1:55 am
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It really varies. I go through WorldPerks so nearly all my flights are Northwest or Delta, sometimes Continental. If it's a short one (within CA or to Vegas or something), then usually I don't bother with that and just go whoever is the lowest priced.

I buy through Travelocity a lot, or through the Delta site. I've used site59 too. Just whoever has it the cheapest, really. Never through a TA or at the airport, ever.
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Old Jul 3, 07, 2:17 am
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It could be any number of things. My father also goes through phases where he either gets SSSSd or "randomly" pulled out of the line for additional screening.

We think it might be because he looks so normal (60, clean cut, 6'+, caucasian, common last name). In other words, the screeners pull him over to prove that they're pulling everyone over. A similar thing might be happening to you.

On a side note, I used to work with someone who had the last name of "Jihad." He said it was tough flying pre-9/11 and - as of two years ago - hadn't even tried since.
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Old Jul 3, 07, 2:32 am
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That could be. I am only 23 but I guess I am pretty "normal" looking. I don't think my flight pattern is weird or suspect. I'm about to start traveling internationally a lot more and I'm just hoping this isn't something that is flagged about me mistakenly and it's going to cause more problems. I've started going extra early just because I get it so often. It really has never been that big of a deal to be honest, but it's just strange. My almost husband gets it a lot too and nearly all of our flights have been together (though he has not been on my one-ways).
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Old Jul 3, 07, 2:35 am
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My last name is Hebrew but could easily be mistaken for Arabic by most Americans. I used to get SSSSed quite a bit and thought that it was because of my name. Then I noticed a pattern:

1. If I flew AF, I was SSSSed every time -- both in France and in the US.
2. If I flew AZ, I was SSSSed in America, but not in Italy.
3. If I flew DL, and purchased my ticket in TLV, I was SSSSed in the States but I was not SSSSed if I bought my ticket in the US.

I stopped flying AF completely and restricted my AZ flights to Italy only. I then changed my DL SkyMiles records to show a US address instead of an Israeli one and I no longer get SSSSed at all.
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