Will You Need a New New York Driver’s License to Fly?
The document you carry that allows you to drive a car in the state of New York could be changing. When will you notice the change? When you go to renew your driver's license after October 30, 2017, you will have the option of getting an ID that meets the requirements for the Real ID act of 2005 or opting out.
Why would you want to get a license that is Real ID compliant? If you travel by air or try to get into a Federal building or military installation, you will be able to use these to gain access. If you choose to not get an ID that is Real ID compliant, you will be turned away by the TSA for airline travel starting October 2020.
If you have a passport or have obtained an enhanced license, you will be able to use those for airline travel, US border crossings and access military installations and federal buildings. A regular Real ID compliant license will allow you to fly and to gain access to federal buildings and military installations.
If you opt out of getting a Real ID compliant license (it will be used for identification and driving only), you will not be allowed to get passed the TSA security checkpoints at the airport and thus, not be allowed to fly.
If you have a valid passport you would be able to use that to get passed the TSA. After October 2020, you would be turned away, even if you have already paid for your flight.
What should you do? That is entirely up to you. The cost for the Real ID compliant license is the same as a regular drivers license. You will have to apply (or renew) in person and you will be asked to bring additional proof of your identity and residence.