Flying While Sikh? Know Your Rights











Discriminated at the Airport? File a Complaint

If you believe you have been unfairly screened by the TSA, please file a complaint directly from your smartphone by using the FlyRights app. (Don't have it? Download it here). This is the quickest way to file a  complaint with the TSA and is our recommended method for all Sikh passengers.

If you don't have access or are unable to use to the FlyRights app, please complete our legal assistance form here with a detailed account of the incident.

What to Include in Your FlyRights Complaint

Your report of discrimination through FlyRights is a critical means of holding the TSA accountable.  Therefore, we urge you to fill out the form completely and with detail.

  • Make sure you fill out every box.  It is extremely important!
  • Describe the instance in significant detail: Include the date; time you went through security (not just the time of your flight); airport; terminal number; airline and flight number; color of your turban or other religious headwear; describe your clothes and carry-on luggage in detail – make sure you include everything you remember, every detail is important and it will make it easier for the TSA to identify you on security footage.
  • Include the Transportation Security Officer’s full name and badge number.  If you don’t have this information, describe the TSO in as much detail as possible (i.e., gender, race, hair color, eye color, hair style, facial hair, approximate age, height, build).
  • Please cite any conversation you had with the TSO(s) and any comments the TSO(s) made to you. This is relevant in assessing discrimination.
  • To see a sample completed FlyRights complaint, click here.

Major Developments

Washington, DC, November 26, 2013–  In time for the holiday travel season, the Sikh Coalition released FlyRights 2.0, an innovative mobile phone app that allows users to file official complaints of TSA screening discrimination in real time. In addition to allowing users to file complaints directly with the TSA, the newest version of FlyRights allows travelers to send complaints directly to their Members of Congress and to compare airports to determine which ones generate the most complaints. Using this innovative application, travelers can document their experience at the airport and submit official complaints to the TSA and Congress, making the experience of reporting faster, easier and less daunting. Download here:
Washington, DC, April 29, 2012 –  The Sikh Coalition is proud to announce the launch of FlyRights; an innovative mobile application that allows users to report instances of airport profiling in real time. Of note, reports filed through the FlyRights app will be considered official, actionable complaints by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The application will be available for download in the Apple App Store and the Android Market. We call on all our supporters to download FlyRights on their phone tomorrow and start filing reports of unfair treatment at airports if you believe it is appropriate.
Washington, DC, January 13, 2011 - The Sikh Coalition has revised its guidance for Sikh travelers at American airports. The revised guidance reflects the reality that Sikhs should now always expect to be secondarily screened at American airports.
Washington DC, October 28, 2007 - After months of advocacy by the Sikh Coalition and other advocacy organizations, the United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today implemented new procedures for screening Sikh turbans. The new procedures, designed to detect non-metallic objects, do not allow a TSA screener to touch a Sikh's turban without cause unless the Sikh traveler gives the screener permission to do so.
New York, New York, November 19, 2001 - U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta has subsequently issued a directive to airport screeners outlining proper screening procedures while protecting the civil rights of Sikh-Americans. Text of Department of Transportation Directive


The Sikh Coalition's Past Community Advisories on TSA Headwear Search Policy

August 4, 2008

Flying While Sikh, TSA Gets a Grade, Part 2

May 2, 2008

Flying While Sikh, TSA Gets a Grade

December 21, 2007

Coalition Files 32 Separate Complaints with the TSA

November 17, 2007

Will Thanksgiving Air Travel Embrace You or Disgrace You?

October 27, 2007

Flying While Sikh?: What You Need to Know as a Sikh Air Traveler

October 17, 2007

TSA Develops New Procedure for Screening Turbans at US Airports

October 10, 2007

TSA Holds Community Meeting in Washington, Begins Responding to Some Concerns

September 25, 2007

US Senators Also Weigh in on TSA Screening Policy
September 17, 2007 Chairs of Congressional Committees Say No to Mandatory Turban Screening Policy in 2nd TSA Letter in One Week
September 13, 2007 Chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee Warns TSA Against Turban Screening Policy
September 12, 2007 Sikh American Groups Meeting with TSA for a Second Time
September 7, 2007 Action Alert: Contact Your U.S. Senators Immediately on the TSA Issue
September 5, 2007 Sikh's Turban Removed in Public and Placed Through Airport X-Ray Scanner
August 30, 2007 TSA Head Contacts the Sikh Coalition
August 24, 2007 Action Alert: Sign Community Petition to the TSA and Document Your Airport Turban Screening Experience

August 22, 2007

TSA Releases Statement on New Airport Screening Procedures
August 19, 2007 Sikh Turbans Will be Subjected to Heightened Scrutiny at U.S. Airports


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