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Shoes (Commenting Disabled)

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

It’s not all about Richard Reid when it comes to the screening of shoes. Post all of your thoughts about shoes in this blog post. To learn more about how the shoe fits in with the TSA, check out our web page on "why we screen shoes". Then come back here and let's talk.

01.31.08, 6:00pm
Christopher says:

Great first question on the ability to pick up foot fungus at the checkpoint and a very common one at that.

Believe it or not, TSA actually commissioned a study in 2003 with the Department of Health and Human Services to look at just that issue. I'm paraphrasing here and will have the actual letter posted tomorrow but they found that if the floor isn't moist then the possibility is, "extremely small to remote" to contract athlete's foot. If there are checkpoint floors that are moist, we generally have bigger issues on our hands than foot fungus.

Also interesting from that study, 15 percent of the public may be affected with athlete's foot at any given time. Think about that next time you're trying on clothes at the mall, looking for a new pair of shoes or going off the high dive at the local pool.

02.01.08, 2:00pm
Christopher says:



Great and lively debate here on shoes. As added fodders, here are two pictures of an altered pair of shoes our officers discovered last year in Alaska.

Yes, we find stuff like this all the time and yes our intel folks tell us terrorists are still interested in using shoes as (improvised explosive devices) IEDs or to hide components.

We've also posted an x-ray image so that you can see exactly what we are talking about.

02.05.08; 9:30am
Christopher says:

There have been several posts asking about the pictures above. Just to be perfectly clear, the first two pictures are of a pair of shoes we discovered during screening in Alaska last year. The wire and other small metal item were positioned under the insole just as they are shown.

The third picture is of an x-ray image of a pair of altered shoes we use to train our officers on x-ray displays in airports. As you can see, it doesn’t take an x-ray tech to tell these shoes have been altered.

Our officers literally see 4 Million shoes per day and they’re very, very good at telling the bad from the good.


Submitted by Lulu on

It is true that the floors are sometimes wet and may be dirty at many airports.I respectfully bring forward that many stay at hotels,use gym rooms,try on shoes at the store,use public pools and beaches and the list could go on. Where are your guarantees that these areas are clean? Maybe we could throw sand on the floor and pretend we are at the beach but I believe that no matter where you are or who you are you find a way to act responsible and if you feel that removing your shoes will be harmful to you,bring disposable socks and slip on shoes.We adjust everywhere else why is airport security different?

Submitted by Business Traveler on

Dear TSA

Do ask yourself from time to time why Asian and European airports don't require shoe carnival?
And especially why Israely don't do this?

Ah yes, because they actually search for explosives and don't have to come up with ridiculous excuses.

Are they less safe? I clearly say NO. You have no reason to specifically scan shoes. It's not for explosives, as there are much better places to hide them so you won't find them, as your own tests proves. And sharp objects are not found anyway or given to every pax during flight. I guess one of the most dangerous weapon is a broken glass bottle. No one has to smuggle something on the plane, you get everything there.

Only thing I can agree with is that germs are not a mayor problem, albeit it's still disgusting.


Submitted by Anonymous on

i travelled last month with my handicapped daughter. Leaving GSP airport the TSA people not only had a chair for my daughter to sit down on for me to take off her shoes but they assisted me on through. Hell was trying to get through security at Fort Lauderdale airport. People were allowed to physically push in front of us since we were too slow .My daughter uses a cane and I had to hold up the line repeatedly asking for a different cane before I would let go of her. After that I had to hold her up to get her to a chair in another area in order to put her shoes back on. It was a disgrace to see how disrespectful they were to the handicapped.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Is shoes are such a threat, why do so few other countries around the world force people to remove them? In Europe, the only country I know that requires this anywhere is the UK, which has a history of slavishly following the US's lead on these things anyway.

Are all the other countries just ignoring the "significant" threats you keep going on about? Do they have better scanners that don't require shoes to be removed? Or have they just made a decision that the inconvenience and humiliation for passengers is a bigger concern than the generally incredibly small risk of terrorism?

Submitted by SSquibb on

Here's an idea: On the way to get my ticket checked and items x-rayed. Give me a cart with two bins on it and as I walk through the line with 100 people in front of me I'll remove items and place them in the bin so when i get to the X-ray machine I am ready to just walk through. The biggest hold up is at the x-ray machine, every thing comes to a stand still because so many people can't disrobe fast enough.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Seems to me, in reading through different sections of this blog, that when the TSA responds it is in the same manner with which they treat you at the airport - arrogance and superiority. Why do I feel like I'm getting a "talking down to"? The majority of this is all about controlling us and instilling fear. Period.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Last spring I traveled between the US and Israel, also took a domestic Israeli flight. At Israel's Ben Gurion Airport, with arguably the best security in the world, they do NOT screen shoes, nor liquids (except on flights to the US).

Submitted by Anonymous on

Yeah, I've got to agree with other posters here. The "official" TSA response in the comments it condescending and hostile. If the TSA is going to provide a public forum like this, the must not use it to give a lecture on why we're wrong.

And I don't want to take my shoes off anymore. We don't have to do it in other parts of the world. The TSA may think this means they're doing their job better than in other countries. But I think it makes the TSA look bad. Why screen for something the rest of the world doesn't consider a threat?

Submitted by I'm Not A Team ... on

Hey TSA. Please address my concerns in my second post.

Submitted by WillieJones on

Why can't TSA use a fluoroscope to check shoes? That way we can keep our shoes on.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I would simply like to see some chairs before the checkpoints to take my shoes off safely. I have difficulty bending over and reaching my shoe laces like many seasoned citizens. I would guess that 90% of airports I use do not have seats before the checkpoint while 90% have seats after. When I ask airport personnel they say "See the TSA" and the TSA folks say "Talk to airport management". My home airport LAS.

Submitted by Narinna on

Why can't USA security check points be like Heathrow, where shoe screening is done separately from personal possessions and body screening? There is a separate screening area with ample seating, after one has gone through the body and personal possessions screening. Make so much sense.

Submitted by Winston_of_minitruth on
"In 1986, Anne-Marie Murphy, a pregnant, 32-year-old Irish woman, was on her way to board a London flight to Israel. After passing through several security checks, she was stopped for a targeted conversation by Israeli security because she stuck out...pregnant women do not often travel long distances alone. Authorities became more interested in her because of the evasive answers she gave. Turns out, she had a bomb in her carry-on bag. Could you imagine the backlash for questioning a pregnant woman traveling in the US?"

No. I could not imagine the backlash that would be had from questioning a pregnant woman carrying a bomb in her carry-on luggage. Will you people read what you write? This is exactly why the TSA should take a page from the Israeli airport security. They had the wherewithal to perceive a potential threat, and deal with it. It is possible to have the same level of competence without the negative aspects that you spoke of. The next time you try to make a point, use a story that supports your argument. This is a basic, dare I say common sense, concept when debating an issue.
Submitted by Anonymous on

People, would you rather take off your shoes or blow up in mid air?

What if that one nuttball makes it through? Whether it be in flip flops or army boots...that one psycho makes it through...and you will be a human firecracker.

Yes, it is a pain and I do hate it...but when you are getting dressed you know you are's not like you just happen to find yourself in the airport boarding a plane. Plan to wear a pair of slip on athletic shoes...I would suggest Vans or the slip on Converse..Target makes a great cheap knock-off. Wear a pair of socks, bring an extra pair or two. When you take off your shoes, leave the socks on. When you go to put your shoes back on, throw the dirty pair of socks away, put on the new, and put your shoes back on. This should take care of any fungus problems, although it is no more dirty than walking around on a pool deck at a water park. Personally, I would walk around naked if it means my airplane is more likely to actually stay in the sky. Just because you don't see these people (read sickos who want to blow you up) doesn't mean they aren't out there. Take a look at the big picture!

Submitted by Anonymous on

I would just like to say that I think you are headed in the right direction with the security checks. Considering the 100's of millions of passengers screened i have yet to die in an explosion. I have recently retired after 21 years in the US Army , with two and a half years spent in the bowels of hell that is Iraq. I am now back as a civilian. I would just like to tell the american public that the reson why the TSA checks everyone is that terrorists will use anyone. I have seen 10 year girls blow them selves up with a smile on their face. I have even seen old women that appear to be white used this way too. Recently two severely retarded women were used to blow up a pet market in baghdad with no knowledge of what they were doing.

Air travel is a priveledge not a right. If you want to make it smoother then stop complaining and trying to fight the system and prepare yourself accordingly. Or you can take a train or a ship or drive. Your choice.

Thanks for rtying to improve things TSA. And thanks for a perfect record of nobody taking over or blowing up a plane since 9/11.

I know why american blood is spilled ....And I believe. Do you?

Submitted by Anonymous on

This policy is typical of the whole "attacking the straw man" approach that the TSA takes.
Someone tries to blow up a plane with a shoe bomb, so now you have to take off your shoes.

Oh, now somebody tried a liquid bomb, so now we're going to take away your shampoo.

I hope to god that nobody ever tries to blow up a plane with some sort of explosive-laden underwear.

Submitted by Laura In Atlanta on

I'm sure its been posted here before, but I would like to also comment on the fact that there needs to CHAIRS or BENCHES if people are required to remove their shoes! I'm young, and I can easily remove and replace my shoes while standing up, but my elderly parents NEED TO SIT DOWN . . . and not just to put the shoes back on, but to take them off in the first place. PLEASE, if removing shoes does become absoluetly mandatory in all airports, then please make sure that there are benches, and PLENTY OF THEM, at both ends of the security pass through! Especially for the elderly! And . . . a pet peeve: TSA agents ask us to remove absolutely everything from our pockets, etc, but then nag at you "Keep moving!" when you are trying to retrieve your items. PROVIDE ASSISTANCE and dont just stand there and yammer at us!

Submitted by The Saj on

Just wait until the terrorists realize that you can use the same coating for gel caps to coat an explosive, swallow it, stand by the external wall of the jet liner. Wait for the gel cap to be dissolved by stomach acids...and *blamo*

Shortly after Richard Reid 2.0 makes such an attempt, the TSA will wisely implement stomach pumping of all passengers before boarding.


Oh, as for Richard Reid, he should be mandated upon his release to forever walk in socks. Not shoes, not barefeet - but socks. Until he has walked each step every passenger has had to walk in socks thanks to his actions.

I think that would be truly punishment. Some might call it cruel and unusual. So what...he's forced cruel and unusual airport screenings on all of us passengers.

Submitted by Robert Johnson on

Quote: People, would you rather take off your shoes or blow up in mid air?

What if that one nuttball makes it through? Whether it be in flip flops or army boots...that one psycho makes it through...and you will be a human firecracker.

I'd rather not have either.

The x-ray doesn't detect explosives. The puffers do. So why am I asked to remove my shoes to send thru the x-ray to go thru the puffer.

X-raying shoes is just a manifestation of security theater to make the masses feel safe when it arguably makes people less safe.

I think a next to nonexistent chance (if it's even that high) does not merit the expense and time wasted in removing shoes.

I have a greater chance of dying in my car on the way to the airport than I do from a shoe bomb. Yet I don't see people advocating taking cars off the road or other stupid measures to mitigate that risk.

Are you afraid to leave the house because you might be robbed, raped, or killed that day? Hey, it could happen. There's a chance.

It's called risk management. TSA doesn't do it. The risk needs to justify the expense. Shoe removal doesn't do it ... especially when there are other much more effective means of detecting explosives that TSA chooses to ignore.

Submitted by Frank on

My son traveled to Israel on El Al during his 2007 winter break from college. He left and returned to the US from JFK. I consider El Al to be the most secure airline in the world. They never asked him, or anyone else in his tour group, to remove his shoes. He only had to do that when flying on domestic carriers in the US.

If it's good enough for the most secure airline in the world not to require passengers to take off their shoes, surely it can be good enough for passengers flying in the US?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Consistency needs to be a priority, I feel like it makes us look incompetent if every airport handles security their own way. I don't mind either way (shoes off/on) I would just like to know what to expect before I walk into any American airport.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I have had severe damage to both of my legs. I am able to walk independently. There was quite a bit of nerve damages. So each time when I have to go thru the check point and take off my shoes, I tend to lose my balance. Both time I touched the side of the detector and set off the alarm. The staff was impatient and barked for me to go thru without touching. It certainly would help if a sign can be posted about touching the detector. The staff can also have some sensitivity training and allow a little more time for the traveler. Often times there was not enough chairs to allow someone to sit down and put his or shoes back on.

Submitted by Anonymous on

A few years ago I took a trip to Korea. When going through security at Seoul's international airport on the way back out, they had us remove our shoes (before it was mandatory in the US).

they did two things which I think simplified matters:
1) they provided temporary plastic/rubber sandals to wear while your shoes were off. This sort of temporary sandal is common in asian cultures.

2) there was a placard showing a cross-sectional diagram of a shoe bomb making it clear what sort of threat they were concerned about.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"The x-ray doesn't detect explosives"

Please don't comment on something if you don't know what you are talking about!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Quick observation - while all passengers are required to remove their shoes, airport employees are not which completely defeats the purpose. If TSA is going to position shoe screening as a method to avoid IED coming into a secure area, then ALL shoes need to be screened, including those working in the shops and restaurants behind security. The employees (regardless of any pre-screening) need to be reviewed as an equal security risk each time they pass security.

Submitted by Anonymous on

And besides the clumsy Richard Reid who probably couldn't even have tied his own shoes by himself, tell us how many explosive or life-threatening shoes you have found with this screening?

Since we've never heard of it, it's either none, or "classified", which means "none" otherwise you would have bragged all around about how your policies work so well.

Your Alaska shoes don't look very frightening.

Submitted by Anonymous on

To the person concerned about germs in the airport... If you are so concerned about germs, maybe you shouldn't leave your house.. I have news for you.. anywhere and everywhere you go, you are surrounded by germs at any one time. Did you know that 1 single toilet in a public restroom alone carries millions of germs.. Theres something to think about. and what happens when you flush..?? all those gems get sent up in the air.... After that little consideration, I think the airport floor is the least of your worries...

Submitted by Anonymous on

As a retired scientist I find the shoe
exercise illogical.

(1) Show me several RIGOROUS scientific
peer reviewed studies that show that
it's safe for people to remove their

(2) Why do TSA agents wear sterile
gloves? Afraid to handle the bins?
Other peoples affects?

Again, a rigorous scientifc study
would help.

Science and logic are ruthless.
I find the TSA's opinions on a lot
of matters to be just that. Opinion.
Not fact

Submitted by Winston_of_minitruth on's nice to see, from the pictures provided, that the terrorists won't be getting through with shoe bombs. It still doesn't explain why sanitary conditions aren't often provided. And, I, as well as others, do not feel comfortable with it being "just as safe as walking around in a gym or locker room without shoes on." You can lay the blame on the janitorial staff all you want, but ultimately, it should fall to the TSA to provide sanitary conditions for what it has deemed necessary.

Submitted by Baby Boomer on

I understand that people may be able to hide explosives in shoes.

What I don't understand is why I was forced to remove my son's shoes while going through BWI security last month.

His is 6 MONTHS OLD. His shoes are tiny soft paper-thin pieces leather. I can barely fit his feet into them, let alone hide anything.

"You'll have to go through again" said the screener. "Remove the shoes." When I asked him if he was serious all he could say was "All footwear."

Traveling with an infant is hard enough. You people make everything worse.

I think employees at TSA headquarters should have to go through a full airport security screening every time they enter their place of work. Pretty soon we'd notice a reduction in insane half-baked self-justifying policies.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I understand the reasoning for you to require us to remove our shoes for x-ray and am fully supportive of that idea. For proper hygiene issues, could you please make sure that there are different bins for shoes? I hate to see my shoes and other personal items being put in the same bin.. Look at this scenerio:

1.) I, a male visit the restroom (urinal which is usually very dirty) right before I go to the security.
2.) Being that I was using the urinal, I had stepped on things that are not so healthy.
3.) Now at the security checkpoint, I take my shoes off and put it in the bin along with my jacket.

Can you see that germs are getting passed as the bins will be always reused without any cleaning? I hope you guys get the point and get a seperate bins for shoes.

Submitted by Anonymous on

For those who wonder why we have infants and young chidren remove shoes, remember that those who will blow up a plane full of innocent passengers do not care that it's a child or infant. Just last week 2 downs syndrome women were used by bombers with remote detonators. No we don't think all parents are terrorists willing to use children, but we don't know who the terrorists are.

TSA screener

Submitted by Anonymous on

You require infants and children to remove shoes? Not at any screening point I've ever been at. I was going to post and complain that children should not get passed over. I don't think certain terrorists would balk at using children as bombs.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Ah, one of these days...
I WILL show up at the IAD TSA checkpoint in a flowing gown, wearing NO underwired bra and as unshod as Isadora Duncan.
Nothing to screen
Nothing to declare
Nothing to check.
Just not in February when I fly to MSP!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Removing one's shoes is degrading and in some cases a difficult requirement with which to comply. Due to my rheumatoid arthritis I have deformities in my feet and can only walk well when wearing special shoes. Nevertheless each time I travel from a U.S. airport I am forced to remove these and endure a painful walk barefoot across the security area. Why can't full body scanners be implemented so that people do not have to choose between putting up with this awful circumstance or giving up travel altogether? Certainly we possess the technology with which to improve this procedure.

FYI, travelers passing through European airports are not subjected to this measure. Last year I flew from Barajas airport in Madrid to Leonardo da Vinci airport in Rome, each of which has sustained terrorist attacks in the past. I was alone at the security counter, and being uncertain of their requirements, I asked the security officer if I should take off my shoes. He looked at me as if I had lost my mind and quickly replied, "no, no, no!" Thank goodness for European civility!

Submitted by Anonymous on

What a great idea TSA...and might I say, thank you for the work you have done so far. Its a thankless job and from reading these comments, most people dont get that.

Now, I have traveled around Europe and have had to take my shoes off in both Germany and Italy, so you can see that the shoe policy is just as inconsistent in Europe as it is in the States. Dont give credit where it is not due.

I dont have a problem with having a full screening, taking my shoes off or opening my luggage for you to rummage around in. If I am not hiding anything, then why do I care? My rights? Hogwash...plenty of people in the world have seen dirty underwear..get over it.

I hate to use the cliche but the TSA does have to be right every single time and the bad guys only have to be right once. With those kind of odds, I am amazed we arent walking through naked. The days where we were lax and had 'freedom' are gone...that ended 7 years ago. It is what it is. Do we need to go overboard--absolutely not. But to gripe about taking your shoes off is just petty. I personally would rather get fungus on my feet than die, but thats just me. Take some socks or be observant and use the blue footies that are provided at most airports nowadays.

Yes, I would like the TSA to be more friendly as I pass through but when is the last time you dealt with a friendly government worker? Customer service has been long lacking in that genre and I dont expect a turnaround anytime soon. On the other hand, they have a crappy job dealing with complaints all day about people taking their shoes off...I wouldn't be happy either.

For those of you worried about walking on the bare floor or having your laptop touch the bottom of your shoes on the conveyor belt, then you might as well just stay home. How clean do you think is the seat on the plane you are about to get on (last year I saw a woman pee in her seat because she was so drunk and couldnt get up to the bathroom). Or the bathroom..eewwwww? And by the way, there are often more germs on your own cell phone than on a toilet seat, so stop being so dramatic. If you have a health issue, then it is your responsibility to take care of it, not the TSA's.

Finally, I do agree that a place to sit afterwards to put the shoes on would be great. Its just common sense.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why can't you make up your minds about whether the shoes go into a tub or directly on the belt? (I would prefer directly on the belt. The next person to put his laptop in that tub doesn't want it to touch the crap from your shoes.) Going through security in DIA last week, the tubs had liners with the outline of a pair of shoes and a clever slogan about putting your shoes there. So I did, only to be scolded by a TSA staffer, who removed them from the tub and somewhat violently threw them into the scanner.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Could someone please explain why the TSA can't be bothered to put down rugs in the shoes-off area at Newark Airport? There are rugs (and booties) at Tampa, where the floors are considerably warmer this time of year. Try going through that security line in you socks sometime, and you'll see what I mean.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am an "infrequent air flyer" so the TSA requirements don't affect me as much as some of you, I will admit. But I have to say that I think many people aren't happy unless they have something to complain about. I was one of those people who wouldn't remove my shoes unless it was required and got additional searches because of it. My choice. I used to say that if you required it for security concerns, then make it mandatory and I would do it with no complaint. That does not mean I enjoy removing my sneakers/shoes at the checkpoint but it really isn't that big a deal.

As for the complaints that it is unhealthy, just watch how many men wash their hands after using the facilities at ANY public men's rooms. I would guess it is less than 20%. Those people are touching everything you touch on a plane. How many of you carry disinfectant wipes and wipe everything down that you touch?

As to the employees being more friendly, I wish all people who deal with the public could be more friendly. They deal with people who are for the most part not happy to see them. I recently attended the Superbowl and went through security to get in the stadium. I listened to the instructions and complied quickly. The screeners apologized for the inconvenience and I told them there was no need to apologize for trying to keep me and the 70-80,000 other people inside the stadium safe. I thanked them and they were genuinely surprised at the thanks.

I agree that they need to have enough seats to allow folks an area to put their stuff back together, shoes and all. I also agree that they should have a clearly marked process to provide feedback...a "How are we doing?" type card available at screening. But I know how nasty people will be and the supervisors will have to take the comments with a grain of salt. Don't write out a comment because someone didn't smile enough for you or didn't think your kid was so cute etc.

Because we have so many freedoms and our country is so open, we are vulnerable to terrorist attacks. That's life. A little inconvenience when we board an airplane is a small price to pay.

TSA, keep working on improving communications between your people at the gates and the bosses in DC. I will do my part by making sure I am wearing clean socks and putting baby powder on my feet before I fly.

Submitted by Iwantmyshoesback on

My whole problem is this. Why is 100% of the AMERICAN population being punished by someone not from this country. Having people take off their shoes is the silliest way to make us safer, than I have ever heard. Here's a better way, have a FAA issued ID, that performs background checks on a regular basis, with these IDs, you can carry liquids and wear your shoes. 99.3% of us have nothing to hide...the other .7% are in jail.

Submitted by Sick And Ready ... on

IMHO, removing shoes is a ridiculous waste of time, an aggravation and generally carried out very clumsily (no chairs) and rudely ("move along, hurry, stop holding up the line") by the TSA.

That being said, I feel compelled to really challenge the necessity to remove flip-flops. A recent poster said if you think it's too dirty, stay home. Well, it goes beyond "icky" for some of us.

I am immunosuppresed. I take calaculated risks all the time of where, when and to what I will expose myself, from a handshake to where I sit. But, I work, live a life and have to fly.

I have to wear flip-flops because I cannot risk a puncture wound to my feet, which have very tender skin. It makes no sense to make me remove my flip flops. I'm willing to do that if I can sit with my feet not touching anything, have the flip flops scanned, returned to me to put on, and then walk through. If I get a puncture wound, I could die. It's that simple. Last year, I could wear flip-flops. I'm now told that I can't.

Also, I need to carry all my meds and OTC products with me because I can't risk being separated from them. Lately, I haven't known anyone who hasn't been delayed, had to stay somewhere overnight and/or did not arrive with their checked luggage. I have multiple risks from not having my medications/OTC products (all physician recommended, even if it looks like "hair conditioner"). In fact, the biggest risk to me would be sudden cessation of some products. I could die. It's that simple. That's why I need everything on my person. This wasn't a problem until the ridiculous limitation on liquids.

FYI, I've already written the TSA very nicely, asking what I need to do to comply with the exceptions I require (which includes the need for inspecting agents to change their gloves to inspect me or the contents of my luggage. The answer back was essentially, "meds are ok in their original containers (I take 20 pills a day and have 10 topical oinments; bringing all of that in original containers is not the least bit practical), declare 'em" and didn't answer my questions. So I then had to write to my Congressional representative to ask the same questions for me.

This is only one opinion, but I don't believe that the current TSA procedures make anyone the least bit safer. I find the entire process humiliating, degrading and as if I'm being marched to the chambers by rude people who are assuming that everyone is a criminal.

So, if the TSA is interested in being customer-friendly, you would
1. answer my questions the first time -- and how do I get answers if the TSA decides not to respond to my Congressional request or do I just get kicked out of the airport when I arrive;
2. treat all customers politely and respectfully;
3. accommodate special needs without a fuss.

Speaking as a chronically ill person who is fighting to live, adding aggravations, hoops and rude treatment to an already assaulted body and mind doesn't meet my metric of customer friendly.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I recently flew. My after-shave cream was in a 4 oz travel bottle, which fit appropriately into my quart plastic bag of liquids. I was told to throw it away. First, I squeezed some of the cream into an extra baggie and then threw the bottle away.

I was then told I couldn't bring on the baggie with the skin cream on. When I asked why, I was told "because we don't know what's in it."

What? I could have carried the skin cream through in a 3 oz bottle. Would anyone know what it was? What is the difference between 2 oz of skin cream in a 3 oz unlabeled bottle and 2 oz of skin cream in a baggie?

Submitted by Joan on

Hi, glad to see there is a place for us travelers to offer suggestions. On the topic of shoes. Some of us senior citizens or others need a chair before the security gate to remove our shoes. We are not always because of age or past illness steady on one foot as we remove our shoes. Holding on to the table is not always enough support. We need chairs or a bench such as they have beyond the security gates.


Submitted by Anonymous on

I realize the importance of securing our airports. But as said so many other times common sense should be part of the whole package. Which leads me to my questions regarding shoes or liquids:

What could be put in a shoe or bottles bigger than 3oz that could not be easily hidden under loose clothing or in a gel filled bra(Which the TSA allows)?

Submitted by Desperate on

I don't think the show screening is effective as others have said, since it (1) has never caught any problems and (2) is just another huge governmental waste of money that is a ruse to make people think things are safe (3) has no way of detecting seriously deceptive packaging of explosive material.

Further, if you are going to insist on this dumb policy, please provide a place for us to put on our shoes. At the Dallas-Ft.Worth airport TSA agents wont even allow you to lean on the table to put your shoes on. This is ridiculous, unnecessary and humilitating.

Submitted by Liz on

Hello. I fly from Orlando to Toronto and back every few months and occasionally trips to other U.S. cities. I really don't mind going through all the security and immigrations. I'm patient and completely understand the reasons behind all the precautions. Although, as a woman, there is one thing that gets on my nerves. And yes, it's about shoes.

Every time I pass through security at any airport, they tell me to put my shoes on the conveyor belt. If I put them in a bin, they tell me to take them out and put them directly on the conveyor belt. You see, some people like to get a little dressed up to fly (business trips, etc.) and this may include women who wear high heels. Now, when they run my high heels across the conveyor belt, the heels of my shoes get caught in the belts and get all ground up, leaving marks and scrapes on the shoes. Some of the time, the agents don't realize right away and continue running the conveyor belt. This really frustrates me seeing that my shoes are not cheap. But, whether your heels cost $50 or $500, this shouldn't be happening.

Is there a way everyone could just put their shoes in the bins? I noticed on the pictures of the wired shoes from Alaska, that they were in a bin, but were still detected. If putting them in a bin is already allowed, could you please inform all of your agents? Thank you for listening.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Thank god there is a place to vent the countless times some overly aggressive agent has barked at our mothers and grandmothers . Now obviously security is important 911 911 911 - The key is to make this feel like more of a meaningful community effort. I don't feel like we are all in this together when I am in US airports. How might a recenly expanded and militarized organiztion manifest a better sense of community with those they serve and are employed by . Courtesy courtesy courtesy. And stop stealing childrens lip gloss for petes sake !
It is clear that a great deal of attention has been put towards a kinda theatre to make us feel safer. I don't think it is working - I wonder what the cost differential would be for say putting an air Martial on every flight verses wasting all our time with this bogus charade .

Submitted by 100KFlyer on

For all posters who seem to think that "you can never have enough security, so taking off your shoes is A-OK, even if we never catch another shoe bomber"

Since you can never have enough security, I am sure you also do all of the following:
-- Take a fistful of antibiotics every day (just in case somebody sneezes on you)
-- Weld six inch armor plating to your car
-- Wear bulletproof underwear
-- Wear a helmet
-- etc. etc.

Now, since you probably don't do any of these silly things, ask yourself "why?"


Now, how this relate to taking your shoes off at the airport? Add up 10 minutes of wasted time per passenger for 2,000,000 passengers and you get about 333,333 person hours wasted EVERY DAY. Multiply by the average salary of $17 and you get a direct economic cost of $5.6 MILLION EVERY DAY. Now ask yourself how much actual "safety" this buys you?

Also, is the TSA really assuming that an attacker would reproduce in exact detail a 5-year old plot? Terrorists are typically ruthless, often religiously deluded, but by and large not retarded (with the exception of "shoe bomber" Richard Reid).

Submitted by Anonymous on

I've visited four cities last week, Including Stockholm, Warsaw, Vilnius, London and New York. In the only airport that I removed my shoes was J.F.K. International. I flew from London to New York, in a 777 filled up with north americans. If I were a Terrorist then I will take a Flight from London to the U.S. and that's it. The Show Removal stuff is just to give us a 'false feeling' of secureness. Couldn't a Terrorist in the U.S. even use a digital watch, fill it up with C4 and explode it near a window at the take off? it might cause a fatal loss of pressure at a very low altitude. For certain people who can think, all this security checks are to avoid bad amateur terrorist to do stupid things, but the real danger still there. I think better technology and good profiling should be better than taking one's shoes off.

Submitted by Teine on

There are sooo many complaints about checkpoints. Please identify those checkpoints, because if you're generally complaining it affects all the other faithful-customer service oriented checkpoints. Also, people are still failing to see the big picture. Safety and Security. That's why TSA was first developed. Did all these cosmopolitan flyers complain right after "911" about the screening procedures? TSO's at these other airports please accomodate the passengers faithly so "We" don't look bad. It's really simple what some PAX are asking for. Flyers of any kind-please offer "CONSTRUCTIVE" criticism, instead of just criticizing. We will never progress if all we do is complain and offer no positive resolutions to the problems that you have. When you do offer your suggestions and comments please put yourselves in the shoes of the TSA personnel. Be realistic in the sense that you are considering what DHS-TSA goes through to stay a float in Congress and consider the typical TSO making money to feed their families and protecting yours.