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New technology arrives at SLO Airport in time for holidays

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Posted at 4:37 PM, Dec 15, 2021

Travelers flying into or out of the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport may see some new technology in action.

In time for a holiday influx of travelers, the airport is implementing a new method that may speed up the check-in process.

The TSA expects travel to reach roughly 90% of pre-pandemic levels by Christmas this year, and travelers may not need to bring a boarding pass to the airport this year.

The new technology is called Credential Authentication Technology, or CAT. It will allow flight passengers to board with just their ID.

"They do not need to show a boarding pass," Lorie Dankers, a TSA spokesperson told KSBY. "Just their ID is sufficient. The officer will scan that and be able to pull up and all the necessary information to allow them into the security checkpoint."

TSA-approved forms of ID include a driver's license, passport or passport card.

To confirm identity, TSA agents will ask passengers to briefly pull down their mask.

"We think that it doesn't hinder the health at all in any way," Dankers said. "But once again, make sure you bring a mask that's easy to remove so that you can do that quickly. Now remember, if you don't have a mask on, you'll be offered a mask. If you refuse to wear that mask, you will not be allowed entry into the security checkpoint and you risk having a civil penalty assessed against you."

There are two CAT units at the San Luis Obispo airport. Officials say it will be the primary way travelers check in to flights.

"This technology is also really great at identifying counterfeit IDs—those that don't have the necessary security features," Dankers said. "It's able to flag that for the officer for the appropriate follow up. That's important because we need to make sure travelers are who they say they are when they come to the security checkpoint."

Officials say that there are exceptions when it comes to the tech.

"If you are 18 or younger, you're not required to provide a photo ID," Dankers said. "So you need to still bring your boarding pass to the security checkpoint."

TSA says they expect the busiest travel days to be Friday, Dec. 17, Wednesday, Dec. 22 and Thursday, Dec. 23.