By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4) — Sunday was the busiest day at Denver International Airport since the pandemic began. People are ready to fly, but there’s a nationwide shortage of security officers. The airport is now using new technology at security to keep travelers safe — and officials say travelers need to come prepared.

(credit: CBS)

“Pent up travel demand combined with the success of the nation’s vaccination efforts requires that Coloradans and all travelers come prepared to the security checkpoint,” Transportation Security Administration Federal Security Director for Colorado Larry Nau.

“TSA Colorado is primed to deliver the most effective security in the most efficient manner,” Nau said. “But, we can’t do this alone.”

This summer, TSA will use Credential Authentication Technology to scan a photo ID and confirm flight status. CAT compares the ID against the Secure Flight database through an internet connection.

When CAT is in use, a traveler will insert their photo ID into the unit and will not need to show a boarding pass to the TSA officer.

“In the past, you might have handed your driver’s license and your boarding pass to our officers. We’ve turned those units around so that there’s less contact with our employees and the traveling public. They can place their IDs and everything, right on the machine themselves to get approval of come through,” said Nau.

TSA also has installed a CT scanner to screen travelers’ carry-on luggage. The scanner will create a 3D image of contents in the bag. Officers can manipulate the image on screen to better view what’s inside.

“During that time, our officer can quickly look at your bag and identify if there’s any prohibited items. It’s a much clearer image for us,” said Nau.

“You’d be surprised what people think they can bring on planes,” he added.

In addition, travelers can leave everything in their carry-on bag, including electronics and food, when it is screened through a CT scanner. The TSA says this will ultimately reduce the number of bag checks required, but this new security won’t make getting through security faster.

“If doesn’t necessarily save time, but it provides a much higher level of security for the traveling public,” said Nau.

The TSA is still hoping to hire security screening officers at Denver International Airport to ensure checkpoint lanes are fully staffed to screen the increasing number of travelers. For open positions, visit jobs.tsa.gov/.

Tori Mason