In accordance with the laws enacted by the TSA and Homeland Security Administration, airline passenger lists are strictly confidential. The information obtained from airline passengers is used strictly to ensure the security of airline travel. Exceptions are made for credentialed officials investigating a crime or an airline disaster.
In 1974, the TSA enacted an exemption rule, which ensures the privacy of passenger information in accordance with the federal government's commitment to protect information that, if made public, can place individuals or their identities at risk. In 2007, the rule was amended slightly when the Secure Flight program was enacted.
The amendment, however, only requires that the Office of the Secretary of State and airline officials be notified when a passenger who is on the "no fly" list, or who is suspected of activity that could be a threat to national security, appears on the list. Additionally, passengers are only required to supply information as defined by Homeland Security. This information includes a name as it appears on government ID, date of birth and gender.
With a flight reservation or confirmation number, however, it is possible to check to see if a specific individual purchased a ticket for a flight. That information does not reveal whether or not the person actually boarded the plane in question.