Bradley International Airport’s TSA Uses Technology that Enhances the Screening Process – and Makes It One Step Easier for Passengers

Did you know that Bradley International Airport is currently  one of two New England airports where the TSA uses Credential Authentication Technology (CAT)?  The technology is a one-step process that validates a person’s identity by scanning an ID instead of a boarding pass. Using this technology enhances security and streamlines the screening process, as passengers do not need to show multiple documents to have their identity and flight information verified. Additionally, with COVID- 19 on all of our minds, it also helps reduce touchpoints.

We recently discussed the CAT technology and what it means for travelers with TSA’s public affairs representative Daniel Velez. This is what you need to know about it the next time you travel through Bradley International Airport:


Q: What does the Credential Authentication Technology do?

A: Credential Authentication Technology automatically verifies passenger ID’s during the security checkpoint screening process. The CAT system can also confirm a passenger’s flight and pre-screening status with the Secure Flight database.


Q: How does it improve the screening process?

A: Travelers who approach the TSA travel document-checking podium do not have to show their boarding pass now, because the CAT unit verifies that the traveler is prescreened to travel out of the airport for a flight that day. This technology provides TSA officers with enhanced detection capabilities for identifying fraudulent and/or invalid passenger identification.


Q: Where in the screening process will passengers encounter it?

A:  The CAT machines are located at the travel document-checking station with the TSA officer you encounter right before you place your carry-on bags onto the conveyor belt for X-ray.


Q: Walk us through the process: What can passengers expect when they arrive at the podium?

A: Depending on the orientation of the CAT unit, travelers may submit their ID to the TSA officer during the airport screening phase for the officer to place the ID into the reader to verify the validity of the document. Or, if the units are positioned in the direction of the passengers, which they are at Bradley Airport, the passengers can place their own IDs into the reader. The TSA officer will provide guidance to the travelers.


Q: What type of ID’s can be authenticated with this technology?

A: CAT units authenticate more than 2,500 different 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, and more. A list of acceptable IDs can be found on TSA’s website at


Q: Are there any exceptions that passengers should be aware of?

A: The CAT units will not accept a driver’s license after Oct. 1, 2021 if it is not REAL ID-compliant.


Q: How does the technology help reduce touch points?

A: When travelers approach the TSA travel document podium; they do not need to hand over their boarding pass (electronic or paper). If the CAT unit is positioned facing to the traveler, like at Bradley Airport, they place their ID, such as their driver’s license or passport, into the CAT reader to be scanned. Because the passenger holds onto their boarding pass and may insert their own ID instead of handing it to a TSA officer, it offers less contact to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.


Q: How long has this technology been in place at Bradley International Airport, and how many units are there?

A: Bradley International Airport received its first CAT units in January. There are currently five units at Bradley.


Q: How many other airports use Credential Authentication Technology?

A:  As of September, Boston Logan International Airport and Bradley International Airport are the only New England airports that have this technology. However, other airports in the region are scheduled to receive CAT units by the end of 2020. Right now, there are nearly 600 CAT units across the country. By Fall 2022, we expect to be at full capacity with 1,520 units.


Note: Even with TSA’s use of CAT, travelers still need to check in with their airline in advance and bring their boarding pass to the gate to show the airline representative before boarding their flight.

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To learn more about TSA’s new safety procedures in response to COVID-19, please visit

Bradley International Airport (BDL) invites you to love the journey at New England's second-largest airport. Recognized nationally by leading travel publications for its ease of travel, Bradley International Airport is ready to welcome you with new nonstops, expanded services, and convenient travel. The award-winning airport is operated by the Connecticut Airport Authority, and its operations are entirely self-funded. The airport contributes nearly $3.6 billion to the regional economy.

*Some nonstop flights may operate only during certain time periods of the year (seasonally). For the latest flight information, please visit the airline's website.