17:56 PM

New TSA technology to improve the TPA security screening experience

The CAT’s out of the bag at TPA, and it's making security screening one step easier for travelers.

Tampa International Airport's TSA team is now using a new, one-stop authentication tool to streamline passenger screening and eliminate the need to show multiple travel documents.

The new Credential Authentication Technology units, known as CATs, scan IDs instead of boarding passes to validate identify, screen for fraudulence and verify flight status - all in one step.

"This state-of-the-art technology improves upon TSA's real-time detection of fraudulent identification documents such as driver's licenses and passports at checkpoints and increases efficiency by automatically verifying passenger identification," said Kirk Skinner, TSA's Federal Security Director for TPA.

Here's how it works: Travelers insert their ID in the CAT unit and the unit scans the ID and informs the officer whether the ID is valid. In most cases, travelers who approach the TSA travel document checking podium will not have to show their boarding pass because the CAT unit verifies that the traveler is ticketed to travel out of the airport for a flight that day.

There are nine CAT units, at least one per airside, at Tampa International Airport. 

"This new technology will further enhance the guest experience while ensuring the safety of all," said John Tiliacos, Executive Vice President of Operations and Customer Service at TPA. "We are grateful for our partners at TSA and the exceptional job they do in keeping all of our passengers, guests and employees safe on a daily basis."

CAT units 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.

TSA has in recent years been adopting more efficient and sophisticated biometric technology, designed to reduce human error, increase safety and incorporate more touchless procedures.