Feb 10, 2023 - News

TSA really doesn't like Colorado IDs. Here's why.

Illustration of two outlines of the state of Colorado, overlapping.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Air travel is just a little more annoying if you live in Colorado.

What's happening: We're not talking about the constant construction at Denver's airport β€” though that's a big pain.

  • It's our driver's licenses that cause the problem.

How it works: The machine that scans IDs and verifies your identity at TSA's checkpoint often rejects Colorado licenses as frauds. Other states don't seem to have the same issues, and it's not related to the Real ID rollout.

  • The problem is the technology that confirms the different marks on a driver's license, TSA agents say, and dates back years.
  • The database the scanner uses to verify legitimate IDs doesn't appear to have the correct version of Colorado licenses, which were redesigned in February 2022.

Why it matters: The delay creates bottlenecks and forces the security officer to jump through hoops to confirm your identity.

What they're saying: Colorado's Division of Motor Vehicles is aware of the issues and reached out to its vendor, but pointed the finger at TSA as the source of the problem. A TSA spokesperson told 5280 magazine they plan to update their system but couldn't say when it would happen.

πŸ’­ Alayna's thought bubble: I didn't realize what an issue this was until traveling home from the Axios company retreat in D.C. TSA stopped me for nearly 10 minutes while officials repeatedly scanned my uncooperative ID and gave me the eyebrow.

  • Despite some skepticism, I eventually was let through β€” but the whole ordeal made me feel like a criminal.
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