With COVID-19 restrictions lessening by the day, the travel industry finds itself back in full swing. While more people than ever traveled domestically and hit the road during the pandemic, folks are finally returning to air travel as well.

According to TSA checkpoint data, daily air travel numbers are just below what they were in 2019, and by next year they are expected to return to pre-pandemic numbers. You know, baring another global catastrophe before then.

Massachusetts air travelers are almost back to pre-pandemic levels as well. According to the Massachusetts Port Authority, over 31 million people passed through Logan Airport over the last fiscal year, which is down only 13% from 2019.

If you are passing through TSA Security at Boston Logan International Airport, we know you won't need a mask, but you also won't need your boarding pass. With the new institution of Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) at Logan and 155 other airports, travelers no longer have to show an electronic or paper boarding pass at security.

The TSA says that CAT is a security game changer, ensuring ID authentication, ticket verification, and Secure Flight pre-screening status that can be displayed in real-time. With CAT, TSA officers are provided with enhanced fraudulent ID detection capabilities while confirming the identity and flight information of travelers. Because flight information will be displayed directly to the agent, the need to show a boarding pass is eliminated.

At security, photo IDs are inserted into the CAT unit where the ID is scanned and analyzed electronically through the Secure Flight database, which confirms travelers’ flight details, ensuring they are ticketed for travel that day. CAT also displays the pre-screening status such as TSA Pre-Check, Global Entry, etc. all without a boarding pass.

Once they are through security, passengers still need their boarding pass to show the airline representative at their gate before boarding their flight.

Other airports relevant to Berkshire Country travelers that are now employing the CAT system are Albany International Airport, Bradley International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, and JFK International Airport.

As a reminder, as of May 3, 2023, every air traveler 18 years of age and older will need a REAL ID compliant driver's license or identification card, or another TSA-acceptable form of identification for domestic air travel and to enter certain federal facilities.

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Gallery Credit: Michael Leonard

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