You no longer need to show your boarding pass at security at some airports—here’s why

Man stands in security line at airport
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The busiest travel season we’ve seen in years is well underway. While travel means the fun and excitement of family visits or vacations, we all know the hassles that come with the experience. Ticket prices continue to climb, routes are changing and trying to cram everything into a carry-on bag to avoid excess baggage fees can take all the joy out of your trip.

But, a number of airports around the United States have launched new technology to help minimize stress when you go through security.

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For years, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoint routine has required travelers to show a valid ID and a boarding pass to continue through to bag screening. Thanks to a new system being slowly implemented by TSA across the country, passengers at many airports will no longer need to show their boarding pass at security.

Known as Credential Authentication Technology (CAT), this security tool gives TSA officers “enhanced fraudulent ID detection capabilities while confirming the identity and flight information of travelers,” according to TSA.gov.

How does it work? It’s all about a secure network of computers working together to maintain the most up-to-date travel plans and identification documents. It’s all part of the Secure Flight database maintained by the TSA.

When a traveler visits an airport that has CAT, all they need to do is provide a photo ID, which includes a driver’s license, passport or other TSA-approved documents. You can keep your boarding pass in your backpack.

Analyzing the ID, the CAT system will then simultaneously confirm a passenger’s identification and flight information with just one scan, instead of the current two. The TSA considers this a “game-changer” for security, both for the agents and travelers by providing a more efficient and secure process.

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Which airports currently have CAT?

More than 100 airports around the United States have CAT in place right now, including:

  • Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ)
  • Albany International Airport (ACY)
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Aiport (ATL)
  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUST)
  • Bangor International Airport (BGR)
  • Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM)
  • Nashville International Airport (BNA)
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
  • Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE)
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
  • Ronald Reagan Washinton National Airport (DCA)
  • Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Indianapolis International Airport (IND)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • Orlando International Airport (MCO)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Aiport (MSP)
  • Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)

To get the full list of airports with the CAT system in place, visit the official TSA website.

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About the Author
Marie Rossiter
Marie is a freelance writer and content creator with more than 20 years of experience in journalism. She lives in southwest Ohio with her husband and is almost a full-fledged empty nest mom of two daughters. She loves music, reading, word games, and Walt Disney World. Visit Scripps News to see more of Marie's work.

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