TSA at Palm Springs International Airport introduces new security technology

Officials with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) hosted a media day at Palm Springs International Airport today for first looks at how their new technology is supposed to make travelers’ security checkpoint experience more efficient.

This new technology is called Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) and it has a two-part component. First, when approaching the TSA security checkpoint, you will only need their Identification card. You do not need to have your boarding pass. Second, there is a 3d scanning machine that allows TSA to identify objects inside a carry-on more efficiently. The traditional 2d machines are still being used because PSP only has one 3d machine.

The spokesperson Lorie Dankers explained how CAT works, saying “Travelers will just hand over their photo ID, the officer will scan that into the cat unit. And the unit pulls up the basic biographical information of the traveler as well as all their flight information”. Even though this technology has been in PSP since November of 2020, the PSP staff shared with us that foot traffic is climbing in number again and more people are becoming aware of the updates they have made since the start of COVID.

In June 2022, TSA screened approximately 75,500 people at Palm Springs International Airport.
That’s seven thousand more than what they saw in June 2021.

Second, there is a 3d scanning machine that allows TSA to identify objects inside a carry-on more efficiently. When travels get to the section where TSA checks carry-on bags, you do not have to take out electronics, such as Ipads and laptops. There are special bins that have an identification tag on them so when a bin passes through the machine, the contents inside are assigned to the bin until cleared by an agent.

Dankers explained, “This is a 3d x-ray scanner that when we screen the contents of a traveler’s carry-on luggage, this screen, this scanner creates a 3d image of the contents of the bag”.

She also explained the day-to-day of a TSA Agent who is certified to operate the new technology saying, “people travel with the same types of things, generally speaking, in their carry-on luggage. And so he sees a lot of the same kinds of things, but he has to even find things like explosive, I’m trying to be like a blasting cap, those kinds of things that might be used any type of item that could be prohibited. The focus really is explosives, because they’re catastrophic on an aircraft. But in terms of the prohibited items, it’s the types of items we saw on that table, as well as the other types of items. If somebody really wanted to be disruptive to the system, he’s responsible for making sure those don’t get through the checkpoint”.

TSA shared a collection of prohibited items that recent travelers had in their carry-on luggage.

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