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The airline does not currently insist on identification for customers travelling solely within the UK and carrying only hand baggage, although it does suggest it.
That will change from Friday 1 September, when anyone 16 or over will need to bring one form of photo ID such as a passport, driving licence or EU national identity card.
Most rival domestic airlines such as EasyJet already insist on photographic identification for domestic flights but BA has been a holdout, avoiding the need for customers to carry a driving licence or passport for journeys where they aren’t required by authorities.
The change, which now brings BA into line with competitors, will be communicated to customers via the automated pre-travel reminder emails.
It is not clear why BA has done this now. Some passengers have been told it is a new Civil Aviation Authority requirement but the CAA says this is not the case and that its policy of leaving the matter to individual airlines is unchanged.
Andrew McConnell, a spokesperson for the CAA, said: “UK aviation security regulations do not require a passenger’s identity to be checked for security purposes prior to boarding a domestic flight, in the same way when travelling within the mainland on a train or bus. Any further requirement on behalf of the carrier to provide identification may be a condition of travel by the carrier itself.”
BA currently says customers “do not need a passport … but we advise that you carry photographic identification with you when travelling … this may be requested at certain points in your journey.”
Its new policy, updated on its website, states: “You do not require a passport to travel within the UK, but you will need to carry one type of photographic ID when travelling with us. Examples include: valid passport; valid driving licence, either provisional or full; valid EU national identity card; valid armed forces identity card; valid police warrant card or badge.”
It adds: “Children under the age of 16 do not need to show identification when travelling on domestic flights. The adult they are travelling with must travel with photographic identification and be able to confirm their identity. Children aged 14 and 15 years who are flying alone will need to show identification when travelling on domestic flights.”
Even with the new requirement, it is understood BA is not planning to check passenger IDs on all its domestic flights.
“We’ve always advised customers travelling on domestic services within the UK to carry ID with them,” said a spokesman.