Home Travel Tech Why You No Longer Have To Show TSA Your Boarding Pass

Why You No Longer Have To Show TSA Your Boarding Pass

by SharonKurheg

If you flew in the years before Covid (and if you’re reading this, I assume you have), you surely remember the drill: when you got up to the officer at the TSA checkpoint, you had to show your ID and your boarding pass. The officer would look at both, cross-referencing the names on each (that’s part of the reason why the name on your boarding pass had to match your ID), and comparing the photo on your driver’s license, passport, etc., to your face. They’d make some sort of mark on your boarding pass – a circle here, a squiggle there – and if they were sure you were who you said you were, and that you had a flight to catch that day, you’d be on your merry way to the secure area of the airport.

Times have changed since Covid and, more and more often, when you go up to the TSA security checkpoint nowadays, you don’t have to show your boarding pass; just your ID.

Why?

Cross-referencing your ID and boarding pass was slow and had the potential for human error. To combat both, TSA is investing in what they call Credential Authentication Technology (CAT). They say it’s a “security game changer,” since it simplifies the entire process.

All you need to do now is present your photo ID or passport for the TSA officer to scan. CAT is linked to the Secure Flight database which, in turn, confirms a traveler’s flight information within a 24-hour period to ensure that the traveler is ticketed to travel that day. No boarding pass is required, since the Secure Flight database already has that information in its system.

In the event someone’s offering a fake ID, or if there’s some other issue with the traveler, a high-pitched noise alerts the officer.

Since it’s all electronic, the vetting just takes a few seconds. The old way only took a few seconds too, but it was a few more seconds than how long it takes using CAT system. Those few seconds add up over however many people are in front of you in line (especially if you’re not using the TSA PreCheck line), which can potentially save you minutes.

Acceptable forms of ID

CAT can scan the following types of identification for flyers age 18+:

  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) ID. This includes IDs for active duty and retired military, their dependents, and DOD civilians. Also, the DOD Common Access Card (CAC).
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner ID
  • Trusted Traveler card:
    • Global Entry
    • Secure Electronic Network for Traveler Rapid Inspection (SENTRI)
    • Free and Secure Trade (FAST) ID
    • NEXUS card
  • Permanent Resident Card/Resident Alien Card (I-551)
  • Border Crossing Card/nonimmigrant visa (DSP-150)
  • DHS refugee travel document (I-571)
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Employment Authorization Document (I-766)
  • Driver’s or enhanced driver’s license
  • Identification card issued by or under authority of a state Department of Motor Vehicles or equivalent state office that is intended or commonly accepted for the purpose of identifying individuals
  • Passports
  • United Nations laissez-passer
  • Canadian driver’s license
  • Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) card

Airports offering CAT units

There are roughly 500 public airports that offer commercial flights. To date, these are the ones that have become equipped with CAT technology:

  • Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ)
  • Atlantic City International Airport (ACY)
  • Albany International Airport (ALB)
  • Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC)
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • Appleton International Airport (ATW)
  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
  • Asheville Regional Airport (AVL)
  • Bradley International Airport (BDL)
  • Bangor International Airport (BGR)
  • Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM)
  • Billings Logan International Airport (BIL)
  • Bismarck Municipal Airport (BIS)
  • Nashville International Airport (BNA)
  • Boise Airport (Boise Air Terminal) (Gowen Field) (BOI)
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (Ryan Field) (BTR)
  • Burlington International Airport (BTV)
  • Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF)
  • Hollywood Burbank Airport (was Bob Hope Airport) (BUR)
  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
  • Akron–Canton Airport (CAK)
  • Charleston International Airport / Charleston AFB (CHS)
  • The Eastern Iowa Airport (CID)
  • Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE)
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
  • John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH)
  • Yeager Airport (CRW)
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
  • James M. Cox Dayton International Airport (DAY)
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
  • Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Des Moines International Airport (DSM)
  • Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW)
  • El Paso International Airport (ELP)
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
  • Sioux Falls Regional Airport (Joe Foss Field) (FSD)
  • Spokane International Airport (Geiger Field) (GEG)
  • Gulfport–Biloxi International Airport (GPT)
  • Green Bay–Austin Straubel International Airport (GRB)
  • Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR)
  • Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO)
  • Greenville–Spartanburg International Airport (Roger Milliken Field) (GSP)
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)
  • Houston William P. Hobby International Airport (HOU)
  • Westchester County Airport (HPN)
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD)
  • Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  • Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport (formerly Wichita Mid-Continent Airport) (ICT)
  • Indianapolis International Airport (IND)
  • Long Island MacArthur Airport (ISP)
  • Jackson Hole Airport (JAC)
  • Jackson–Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (JAN)
  • Jacksonville International Airport (JAX)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • McCarran International Airport (LAS)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport (LBB)
  • LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
  • Clinton National Airport (Adams Field) (was Little Rock National) (LIT)
  • Kansas City International Airport (MCI)
  • Orlando International Airport (MCO)
  • Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)
  • Manchester–Boston Regional Airport (MHT)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE)
  • Minot International Airport (MOT)
  • Dane County Regional Airport (Truax Field) (MSN)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
  • Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
  • Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR)
  • Oakland International Airport (OAK)
  • Eppley Airfield (OMA)
  • Ontario International Airport (ONT)
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Norfolk International Airport (ORF)
  • Paine Field Airport (PAE)
  • Palm Beach International Airport (PBI)
  • Portland International Airport (PDX)
  • Punta Gorda Airport (PGD)
  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
  • Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)
  • Pensacola International Airport (PNS)
  • Tri-Cities Airport (PSC)
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP)
  • Theodore Francis Green State Airport (PVD)
  • Portland International Jetport (PWM)
  • Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)
  • Richmond International Airport (RIC)
  • Reno/Tahoe International Airport (RNO)
  • Roanoke–Blacksburg Regional Airport (Woodrum Field) (ROA)
  • Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC)
  • Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW)
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN)
  • San Antonio International Airport (SAT)
  • Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV)
  • South Bend International Airport (was South Bend Regional) (SBN)
  • Louisville International Airport (Standiford Field) (SDF)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • Springfield–Branson National Airport (SGF)
  • Shreveport Regional Airport (SHV)
  • San Jose International Airport (SJC)
  • Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (San Juan Airport) (SJU)
  • Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
  • Sacramento International Airport (SMF)
  • John Wayne Airport (SNA)
  • Sarasota–Bradenton International Airport (SRQ)
  • St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL)
  • Cyril E. King Airport (STT)
  • Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR)
  • Tallahassee International Airport (TLH)
  • Tampa International Airport (TPA)
  • Tulsa International Airport (TUL
  • Tucson International Airport (TUS)
  • McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS)
  • Northwest Arkansas National Airport (XNA)

The list is constantly getting additions. Happy flying!

Feature Image: TSA

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3 comments

Mike December 2, 2022 - 11:34 pm

While the airports listed have the technology, not all stations at the TSA checkpoints do. I fly out of CLT every week and it is a crap shoot as to whether I have to show a boarding pass or not.

Reply
SharonKurheg December 2, 2022 - 11:38 pm

OK, thanks for the info. TSA didn’t specify that on their list; just which airports had them (not whether or not every single checkpoint at each airport had them).

Reply
brucebill December 7, 2022 - 10:35 am

Who pays for the equipment DHS or the airport?

Reply

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