PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia International Airport is enhancing its TSA security features. Transportation Security Administration officers are now using new technology to validate travelers’ identities and confirm their flight information.
TSA has 16 credential authentication technology units, also known as CAT, inside the airport.
TSA’s Federal Security Director for the Philadelphia International Airport Gerardo Spero says the new technology enhances officers’ ability to detect altered or fraudulent identities at TSA checkpoints, including driver’s licenses and passports.
“The system also is able to confirm the passenger’s flight status in near real-time through a secured connection,” Spero said. “Overall it increases efficiency at the checkpoint.”
TSA officers put the ID card inside the CAT unit, which then scans the ID and informs officers if the ID is valid. In most cases, travelers will not have to show officers their boarding pass because the CAT unit confirms the traveler is prescreened to travel from the airport on a flight that day.
But a boarding pass may be requested for travelers under the age of 18 or if there is some type of ID issue.
Travelers must still check-in with the airline in advance and bring their boarding pass to their gate agent before boarding a flight.
The CAT units can authenticate several thousand types of IDs including passports, military common access cards, retired military ID cards, Department of Homeland Security Trusted Traveler ID cards, uniformed services ID cards, permanent resident cards, U.S. visas and driver’s licenses and photo IDs issued by state motor vehicle departments.
Officials say the unit has a passport reader, and ID card reader, a Federal personal identity verification ID card reader, a monitor, a stand and a UV light.
Travelers should note that they should have their REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses or other acceptable forms of identification by the October 1, 2021 deadline.
The CAT units will not accept driver’s licenses after October 1, 2021 if it is not REAL-ID compliant.