WASHINGTON, July 31 (UPI) -- The U.S. Transportation Security Administration says it may fine airlines up to $25,000 when they wrongly tell passengers they're on a terrorist watch list.
TSA officials, stymied that airlines haven't taken steps to eliminate the delays and irritation that happen when a passenger has a name close to a terrorist watch list entry, said it would meet with airlines to "make sure they aren't alarming people and telling them they're on a watch list when they aren't," spokeswoman Ellen Howe told USA Today.
Airlines compare passenger names to government watch lists before a flight, USA Today said. If there's an apparent match, a passenger cannot print a boarding pass at home or a kiosk, going instead to the airline's check-in counter with proper identification.
The TSA has urged airlines to keep records of passengers cleared after being mistaken for terrorists so the mistakes won't happen again, Howe said.
Airlines have spent millions of dollars to improve passenger identification systems, said David Castelveter of the Air Transport Association, the airline trade group.