Christopher Elliott writes:
Thanks for the birthday card, Southwest Airlines.
The computer-generated missive, complete with signatures of the airline’s executives, landed in my mailbox just before the big day. At first I was flattered by the thoughtful gesture. But then I was troubled.
How did they know my birthday?
And then it occurred to me: Airlines are now requiring passengers to provide their full name as it appears on a government-issued I.D., their date of birth and their gender as part of the Transportation Security Administration’s new Secure Flight initiative.
When I contacted Southwest to say thank you for my birthday card and to find out where the airline had gotten my information, spokesman Chris Mainz said that indeed, the data came from my Rapid Rewards frequent-flier program profile and had “nothing to do with Secure Flight.”
Read more in the Washington Post.