My ex-son-in-law insists that he cannot fly from California to Ohio to visit his children because he is banned from flying due to an arrest about 3 years ago. He is a U.S. citizen and has lived in California all his life. Can people with minor offenses be stopped at airports in the U.S. because of this?
There are a couple of possibilities:
This person received a DUI or other infraction which resulted in their driver’s license being revoked, which makes it harder to check in for a flight. However, they can apply for a State ID or even a passport for identification purposes if they so choose.
They are on a Do-Not-Fly list. This would have to either be because they are thought to be terrorists or have the same name as one. They can petition to be removed.
The conditions of their bail or parole require them to remain in the same city or county or state. This limits more than flying so would also preclude leaving by car or bus or train. This type of restriction is quite common. It’s also time-delimited so you should be able to ask when this bail- or parole-restriction ends — and travel is often possible with prior permission from the court or parole officer(as @David notes).
A variation of #3 is that they have an outstanding warrant in either their origin airport locale, destination locale, or at the federal level and are afraid that once they present at the airport, they will be arrested. The TSA does not actually check for outstanding warrants as part of normal practice, but the traveler may nonetheless be afraid of that possibility.
There may be a restraining order against this individual, perhaps from their former spouse that would make visiting their children difficult, however usually these allow for a third party (for example, grandparents) handoff of kids.
They may have a no-trespass order from an airline or an airport but that usually doesn’t preclude going to another airline or airport.
This may all be just an excuse not to see their own child for their own reasons.
My guess is that it is item #3 (or #7).
Technically speaking, no. An arrest is not a conviction and simply being arrested cannot have that kind of punishment. If he was arrested AND convicted, then yes, it is possible that as either part of his punishment or as part of the conditions of his parole, he is not able to fly. It is also possible, if he is still pending trial, that he may not be allowed to travel that far away.
I have traveled out of the country and in the country multiple times with not only someone who has been arrested but with someone who was convicted of manufacturing mushrooms with intent to distribute. They have 2 felonies and are not on probation or parole. So, he is either not telling you the entire story, is just outright lying to you, or is ignorant in this matter.
I suggest to you to call his bluff and tell him you spoke with a criminal lawyer (Someone at work, a friend, a neighbor whatever) and they said there is no reason you can not fly if you are not on a do not fly list, probation, or parole. See what his reponse is, back him into a corner on the issue.
Illegal immigrants can still fly within the USA and tey do not get caught. All you need is an ID and an airline ticket that matches that ID. Well, you also need the will to go. But who am I... just another ignorant person on the internet maybe.