Friday, April 1, 2011

What's the difference between an airline Company ID and a nametag?

Following a great discussion on, a question was asked if hiding a badge was against FAA/TSA regulations and/or policies.  Since it is not an FAA/TSA regulation/policy, I responded to the question as it was not.

Later on in the thread, another poster quoted an airline policy regarding wearing of name-tags, which is completely different than that which was asked. Yes, majority of airlines do have a policy where their employee's must wear name-tags on their uniforms, as most company's do.

I then posed a question whether or not the person who felt a flight attendant was specifically hiding their name-tag thought that what was being hidden was actually a Company ID. This is in deed different than a name-tag that most airlines require, as the Company ID to all crewmembers is issued under Department of Homeland Securty, and is checked at each Transportation Security Administration checkpoint, much like regular passengers must show their Driver's License.

Company IDs have more information than just a name-tag. They often include company name, a hire date, company seniority date, photo of the crew member, employee pay-role number, full name of the crew member, along with a TSA mandated expiration date.

Majority of airlines will require the Company ID to be hidden from regular view of the passenger, but will require crew members to wear their name tags at all times. Name tags will often come in variable forms: first name only, last name only, nickname only, or first and last name, along with any other title such as specific language or qualification such as a Lead Flight Attendant.

I can understand that majority of passengers don't understand the difference between company policy and/or FAA/TSA regulations and most wouldn't care. Many flight attendants will put their own name on their name tags, while others will not.

Sure, we can walk into a restaurant, retail store, or even a post office and find someone wearing a name tag. There have been cases involving passengers looking up crew members by their name and stalking them. When a customer writes a letter (whether it be a complimentary letter or a derogatory experience) they often want a name to provide the company.

Just like at a retail store, you don't need a name, let alone a full name of the person you are writing up. You just need to write what store you were at, what time of day, and in what department you were in (if it was a large store). Same thing with the airline, you don't need a name (which could be helpful) you just need to have the date you were flying, flight number, and seat number, the company will do the leg work in finding the appropriate person to commend, or reprimand.

I do wonder though, why is it when one is explaining differences, others believe that they hate what they are doing and should find something else to do. It's funny that not once did I ever say what the flight attendant did to the original poster was right or wrong, yet because I posted to the topic I'm acknowledging the flight attendant (or me) was wrong and should find another job. That always baffles me.