By "passenger services" I mean planes, cruise ships, trains, etc. – any company that transports paying passengers. I ask because a few years ago a friend of mine had a sister who became very ill on a cruise ship, and wanted to get in direct contact with her (she lost her phone) and narrowed down the few possible ships she would be on to get confirmation of her health status.

He intended on contacting the cruise line and cross-referencing his sister's name with the cruise ship identifier (which would designate the cruise ship itself). He never did this since she called, but it does bring up an important question: are passenger services obligated to provide the names of ALL passengers on board in certain circumstances, or is this information private and it can't be given?

Everyone who boards a plane, ship, etc. has their name known by the company.

  • I know that US airlines won't reveal passenger information to the general public. Besides, what if the person asking is a stalker?
    – mkennedy
    Mar 26, 2016 at 14:37
  • I very much doubt that there would be any law that would obligate the company to disclose the information. But it's awfully hard to demonstrate the nonexistence of a law; one would have to examine every law that exists and rule them all out. So if I'm right, your question will be very hard to answer definitively, and you should not be too surprised if it goes unanswered. Mar 26, 2016 at 21:15

1 Answer 1


In the United States for interstate passenger rail, under the Rail Passenger Disaster Family Assistance Act of 2008, the maintenance of a passenger manifest is recommended, but voluntary.

NTSB task force document

Under the Rail Passenger Disaster Family Assistance Act of 2008, the NTSB has the responsibility to assist family members and coordinate public and private responsibilities in the wake of rail passenger disasters. The Board has similar responsibilities for major aviation accidents (under the Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996) and developed the NTSB Federal Family Assistance Plan for Aviation Disasters to serve as the model plan in the provision of family assistance in such accidents. Aspects of this plan are also used in the daily responsibilities of the NTSB Transportation Disaster Assistance Division (TDA) to assist family members in all modes of transportation. Relying of 17 years of transportation accident response experience, the plan focuses on meeting the four major areas of concern for family members: notification about the accident, short and long-term information sharing, victim identification, and management of personal effects. From the NTSB TDA experience, these four areas of concern are consistent across transportation modes. The plan also details the responsibilities for the air carrier, NTSB, American Red Cross, Department of State, and other federal agency partners. Because this plan has worked effectively in major accidents in all modes of transportation, it is well suited to serve as the basis of the rail passenger disaster model plan, with appropriate modifications.

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