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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 Anonymous on

I think it's so funny that all these people complain and say that what TSA does is a waste of time. Do people realize that 9/11 was only six and a half years ago. People are crazy and would try anything. You need to watch the news more often. Poor TSA officers got to hear all you people complain about little things like taking shoes off. If it bothers you that much go to the gift shop at the airport they sell the disposible footies. Then what are you pathetic people going to complain about.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The shoe thing is ridiculous.

First, I have a pair of sandals on and it was painfully clear they had ZERO opportunity to have anything altered in their slim plastic outline, yet I had them taken off and even wiped and checked for explosives. I was on a one day excursion to the main island of Hawaii with my wife and kids. We were wearing t-shirts and shorts. Come on.

Then I have my baby, that I am carrying, wearing baby shoes made of sock type material and they insist he take them off. The kid can't walk, the shoes are less substantial than my socks??? This is stupid and pointless. It protects no one.

As has been stated by other posters... It is ten times easier to hide something on your body than in a pair of shoes. And, if there is something like the wires and metal you show in the picture, the metal detector would register them.

Submitted by Anonymous on

It is horrible when you have agents that act as if any question or lack of understanding of any of their rules is some sort of SIN. They act like we should be reviewed simply for daring to ask a question. Hint, terrorist aren't going to ask questions or start a confrontation.

(outside the shoe target conversation) I find it laughable that we can't have a slim case that has ONLY our laptop in it go through, so we don't have to remove it and put it on bare metal and rumble along!

It is ridiculous to add heightened security and demand that soldiers take off their boots when they are there on active duty! I know when I was in, in the late 80s we walked through many airports with our weapons as that is how we travelled... and we were trusted enough to do it. How did we somehow become less trustworthy?
Also, your comments about respecting them... well, your agents don't show that. I am always stuck by claims of military screwing up (although I think it can happen) and bringing things like a grenade in, but we don't hear it in the news. We hear every other little detail... but these types of urban myths perpetrated to excuse your efforts are common.

Submitted by Sandra 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.

The person who wrote the above comment should know that you do not have to remove special shoes.

From the TSA's own website:

"Security Officers should not ask you to remove your orthopedic shoes, appliances, or medical device (insulin pump, feeding tube, ostomy or urine bag, or exterior component of cochlear implant) at any time during the screening process."

Travelers who wear special shoes or have wounds on their feet must learn to be firm with screeners who insist that those shoes need to come off.

As for the TSA apologists who have posted to the effect of "just wear slip on shoes", you need to expand your horizons and know that not all people can wear slip on shoes.
Submitted by J on

I WANT MY SHOES. I want my dignity back. I want to make it through the line quickly and with courtesy. You state that because some small amount of explosive "could" be hidden in altered shoes, all must suffer. This completely ignores the rationale of whether terrorists DO attempt this or whether any plane WOULD be damaged by such an attack.

You really need to come up with either a new technology or accept procedures similar to what every other nation in the world uses. The Shoe Policy is self-defeating and symbolic of the worst side of TSA regulations. I WANT MY SHOES.

Submitted by Mello on

I have gone through an airport wearing flip flops. I am not kidding here but they did ask me to sit down, take off my flip flops and they scanned the bottom of my bare feet with a metal detector. Thats just ridiculous!

Submitted by Anonymous on

I still don't understand why people are crying over their shoes. One person said I want my dignity back...give me my shoes. When did your shoes have anything to do with your dignity, if shoes give you dignity then you must have other issues like self esteem or be extreemly self centered and egotistical. It is for the good of everyone that we take off our shoes, if you have nothing to hide quite crying. It is embarrassing to hear all of these grown adults crying about taking off their shoes. Those are the same people that say that America has an obesity problem and then go order a big mac and fries (SUPER SIZED) Please is our culture that lazy that we cant take 2 minutes to bend over and remove our shoes, gosh it is a wonder any of us can make it through a 30 minute work out with that attitude!

Submitted by Anonymous on

The shoe problem is typical of most of the reactionary rules and regulations this government has adopted since that horrible day in September 2001. Unable to really make the country safe, they have created a bogus justification for every inadequate response to what occurred. Thinking that a show is really all we, the general populace, needs to feel safe, they have instigated inane rules about everything from shoes and liquids at airports to invading and occupying a country that had no connection to the initial event.
This sit-com reaction, when carried to the absurd lengths now prevalent at nearly every airport in the country, is an embarrassment and shameful to us all. This reactionary existence has done nothing to make us safer, and in fact has created a global situation that is far more dangerous to Americans than has ever existed before. In addition, we now have longer lines, longer waiting time, absurdly late take-offs and arrivals, wasted productivity, a strained economy, excessive fuel use and more pollution, and disgruntled passengers and TSA employees.
That said, if you insist on foisting inane rules on the traveling public, consistency is called for; and this includes the better education of and more civil customer service from the TSA workforce. You all seem to forget that you work FOR us rather than against us. It is up to you to do your job well, with courtesy, respect and dignity, all of which seem to be grossly lacking whenever I fly.

Submitted by Anonymous on

To ottnott, explosives show up in the x-ray as separate entities from the items in which they are hidden

Submitted by Anonymous on

Reading through the endless blogs regarding removal of foot wear amazes me. I can understand the annoyance of having to take off shoes in a public place where a person might feel they are going to get a life ending foot disease. I feel for senior citizens who have trouble walking let alone removing shoes without being able to sit down to do so. I have been there; I have removed shoes, so I know the frustration of it. I am a New Yorker and am guilty of having the "wanting things done NOW" Syndrome. I have zero patience or tolerance and yet, I understand what TSA is attempting to do. TSA IS LOOKING OUT FOR OUR SAFETY!! Do we need another 911? Do we have to have another person attempt to and/or successfully carry a bomb or some other incendiary device on a plane whether it is in liquid form or in footwear before we realize that this is serious business and what the checks and re-checks are all about? I am a US citizen, born and raised; New York City is my home and has been for the past 50 years. I some times can't make heads or tails of some of the things that happen in our city, state or government. Some things make no sense to me whatsoever; I gripe, grumble, complain and when I watch the news, I even scream and the anchorman/woman! But, I do understand that TSA is attempting to contribute to my safety. TSA is attempting to make sure of my safety when I travel. I don't like to fly, I am afraid to, but I will do it; and if on top of being afraid of flying I have to worry about someone possibly blowing up the plane or airport that I am in, well hell, I may as well stay home for the rest of my life and never travel anywhere again. If TSA is doing their part to try and deter not only terrorist, but anyone from killing innocent people, then I am all for it. It may be an inconvenience and granted some of the Officers could be a bit nicer. Sometimes I wonder if the officer’s demeanor is as a result of the public being so ungrateful. Yes, ungrateful that something is being done to protect us from any threat or harm on the airlines and the only thing we do is gripe, moan and complain. Wake up people, these officers don’t know you from a hole in the wall. I’m sure they have come across all types of situations where people try to smuggle illegal drugs, weapons through airports by any means. No one is without suspicion if you think about it. Let’s not take it so personal; these officers are only doing their job. I read the blogs and hear the frustration, but think about it, what if there were no systems in place…no checks at all, and then what? Bloggers would STILL have something to gripe about and God forbid if an incident like 911 occurred, these same griping bloggers would be chasing the officers and TSA officials off the planet with torches and pitchforks! I am attempting to make light of a very serious situation. However, as Americans, we have to get behind our country some times and help to do the right thing, help set the example. We may be inconvenienced for a few moments from our travels, but to me, it’s worth it. It’s not a perfect plan, but until one is in place, let’s try and stand behind those who are only attempting to help us reach our destinations safely.

Submitted by Baby Boomer on

"TSA Screener" said: "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."

You have obviously never seen the kind of shoes a 6-month old wears. Why do you even reply when you don't know what you are talking about?

The whole alleged justification for requiring people to take off their shoes is that one can fit little balloons of explosive in an adult shoe. Never mind that you can fit even more in, say, your pocket. Never mind that the amount of explosive one could fit in a shoe would never actually take down a plane...unless applied directly to the pilot's head.

Infant shoes are little better than leather socks. GET A CLUE!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Babyboomer said: "You have obviously never seen the kind of shoes a 6-month old wears. Why do you even reply when you don't know what you are talking about?"

As a mother as well as a TSO I do know what I am talking about. Not all infant and childrens shoes are softsoled like slippers. It takes two seconds to remove the shoes and send them through, so I don't know why this is such an issue. Sending the stroller and carseat through the x-ray machine take a lot more time, and yet I don't see as much complaining about that. Until the rules get changed (don't see that happening) all passengers must remove their shoes. This includes infants and children's shoes.

TSA screener

Submitted by Sandra on

"It takes two seconds to remove the shoes and send them through, so I don't know why this is such an issue.

The purported screener/mother who said the above did nothing other than to perpetuate the arrogance so many of us see in screeners.

If she is a mother, then she knows full well that it takes more than "two seconds" to remove an infant's shoes and send them through the x-ray. And she doesn't even acknowledge the difficulty of getting the shoes back on the todder or infant afterwards.

Submitted by Rick James on

I am curious ...

I have now traveled the world about two times, and last year alone I was in seven foreign countries and not once was ever asked to remove my shoes.

Is the USA the only country in the world asking their travelers to remove articles of clothing, specifically shoes?

If we are not, then please provide a list of the "other" contries if you can.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I noted that TSOTom bitched about responding to an anonymous comment. It's your blog. If you don't want to permit anonymous comments, then don't; change the policy. But don't be snotty with people for commenting anonymously when you explicitly allow them to do so.

Don't humiliate people for asking questions. We have the right to understand the rules we're expected to abide by.

Submitted by Gary H on

If the TSA is sure that their studies show that disease and fungus is not spread at checkpoints, what about this: My pet peeve is that my socks get filthy from dirty floors. What would be so hard about using adhesive step-off pads? These are replaceable pads or rugs that have a slight adhesive to clean the bottom of shoes. They are used in areas like clean rooms, and we used them at nuclear power plants to prevent radioactive dust or particles from leaving the plant. When they do work anymore, you peel the old one off, and a new one is below. You could place these in locations leading up to the x-ray rollers, so people's shoes get clean before the area where we have to remove them. Plus, you could also use them on the entire route from rollers, thru the metal detectors and back to the exit chute of the x-ray. It's simple courtesy!

Submitted by David on

The whole shoe removal fetish that the TSA has is a big, giant slap in the face to the traveling public.

Any smart bomber would keep his C4 inside a body cavity, taped to his body, etc. In other words, it would get through your checkpoints regardless (since you refuse to embrace explosive particle detection portals or "puffers").

Kip, stop harassing us with you footwear fetish. It's become tiresome, inane, and just plain stupid.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The rules TSA comes up with are catered to the least common denominator; the stupidest person imaginable. Whereas 99.999999 percent of the flying public are NOT stupid enough to strap a bomb to the bottoms of their feet, it's the .000001 percent that worries 'em. You don't want germs? Most airports are now providing blue disposable booties for you to wear. You want your "dignity back?" stop making yourself look like a fool trying to argue with the TSA guys right there on the checkpoint. You don't want to take off your shoes? Take a train. Flying is YOUR choice. It doesn't work, it just pisses them off. And for all those who WANT carpets, consider this... it is much easier to mop and wax a floor than it is to shampoo a carpet every day. Meanwhile, don't piss off the people who are responsible for getting you through.

Submitted by Anonymous on

To Tuscon traveler - Why are the areas not better set up to let you put your shoes back on??

As we first started federalizing and "rolling out" there was a 1 year mandate from congress to have it all in place. We used one standard design most refer to as the BWI design. At that time we had a very high rate of SELECTEE passengers and hence thses great big wanding corrals you see around the country. Over time we have introduced measures that have dramatically reduced the number of passengers who have to be screened as selectees and have studied best practices in check point design and layout. We are currently moving more and more airports into a 2to1 design which makes them much more efficient in being able to process passengers. One of the pieces to the 2to1 are recomposure benches at the end of the lanes. These are sort of a wide locker room type of bench where you cam sit and put your shoes and such but not be holding up others behind you. Works GREAT!

The problems are several - many airport security check points were designed prior to 9/11 when the public could go to the gate. As such there simply is no space to put the benches without significant building change/addition. I can tell you that every inch of space in an airport is worth money to the airport. You don't just take more area. There is also the issue of only so much money and what is priority. I guess the good news here is the TSA Administrator has made this efficiency issue a top priority and the benches are part of it. I can assure to you we have added these in many airports and Federal Security Directors can and do make requests for "Optimazation Teams" to come in and make recommendations. Hope it makes you feel a little better anyway, safe travels.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Regarding the why does military have to screen. Having been in the military I can recall several occasions where we (EOD) responded to the airport because some knucklehead tried to sneak a trophy home. I responded to grenades, explosives and other things guys thought would be real cool to have at home. Guess they weren't all like you?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Booties are available at one DFW terminal C checkpoint, almost!

TSA has them place just prior to the WMD, well past the point of removing shoes and placing items in the plastic bins for xray, in other words they can say they have them but the booties are not actually available to the public.

I really appreciate the planning that goes into checkpoint design and setup like this.

I did not see comment cards at this checkpoint. Might have missed them but the cards were not well displayed if available at all.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am a disabled person who can not walk and uses a wheelchair. In regards to the Honolulu Airport over the past several years me and my family visit from Souhtern Californian and going through TSA at Honolulu is a nightmare. LAX is acceptable in it's practices but Honolulu is not. The TSA agents are rude and intrusive to me in a wheelchair. They always ask for for wallet and go through it and even to this last time they put my wallet and MY WATCH ( which is very expensive) through the x- ray machine. I understand the shoes. But the watch and going through my wallet is suspicious to me on why. This does not happen in LAX and only happens to me. The rest of my family goes through the metal detectors without a problem. We fly First Class and expect respect as would any other passenger. Just the procedure at Honolulu Airport has made me not want to fly anymore because I feel violated. And as a proud American Citizen this should not happen. The balance of security and respect for individuals in wheelchairs needs to be looked at in the Honolulu Airport. Thank you.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Wow. I've read everything from TSA Officers being uneducated to stupid to worthless to idiots to all sorts of things. It's funny to me, no funny isn't the's SAD to see all the negativity related to the TSA Officers for doing their jobs. They don't make the rules, they have to enforce them. I guess you all who have nothing good to say feel the same way about the police whenever you get stopped for speeding? Do you think the same about the road crews who are fixing the roads who have one or two or three or more lanes shut down on the highway in order to makes the roads safer for you and your family? When it comes to anyone being asked to do something they don’t want to do it always results in criticism. Always.

I’d first like to address those of you who think all TSA Officers are uneducated, unintelligent or do not even have a high school diploma in the least. First I’d have to point out your uneducated and unintelligent comments. Have you ever filled out an application for Federal Service? I’m thinking you haven’t. The application for Federal Service is the most in-depth application anyone will ever fill out in their lifetime. So obviously you have to have at least a high school education. But what you don’t know, most of you, is that most of the TSA workforce has degrees in different studies. There are some who have their Masters in various studies. Some who have their Bachelors in various studies. And yes, some who just only have a high school education, which doesn’t make them any less important than the ones who have a Masters or Bachelors or an Associate Degrees. So YES, all TSA Officers are educated, intelligent and know what they’re doing. And while we’re talking about education lets talk about the training involved with TSA Officers. There are some who feel as if there is no or little training for TSA Officers. Hmmmm, where are you getting that information? Have you ever worked for TSA? Do you know someone who does? I’m guessing the answer is NO to both questions. I for one know TSA Officers receive training on a continuous basis. Is it easy training? NO. How do I know, well lets just say I know and leave it at that. These Officers receive more training than some of you will receive in a lifetime. I’m not going to compare it to law enforcement because it’s not the same. The TSA Officers are not looking for parking violators, speeders, jay walkers, or anything else along those lines. These Officers are on the front lines trying to deter terrorists, and in some cases have done repeatedly. Do you hear about those reports? No. Why? Simply because TSA does not want to scare or invoke fear into the public to the extent where it could possibly hurt air travel. If you were to hear on the news that the TSA at whatever airport stopped whatever many individuals who had terrorist links what would you think? You’d think like many of us would, that they’re (the terrorists) trying it again. And that would lead to you, as millions of others, to stop traveling by air. And that’s not the only thing you’d rethink. Remember after September 11, 2001 when we all ran to the gas stations, the grocery stores, the hardware stores and everywhere else in between stocking up on things? If that report were to come out about TSA catching terrorists at an airport that kind of mentality would find its way into everyone and what happens then? Yes, some of you have the answer. You think the economy is bad now? Put out that report about what the TSA, the FBI, the ATF, the CBP, and whatever else law enforcement found/finds and see what happens. The fact is YOU don’t know what’s going on because YOU don’t see the reports or intelligence. YOU don’t receive the training. YOU ARE not on a ‘need to know’ basis. All YOU have to do is whine, complain and gripe each and every time you go through airport security. And why should it change? This is a country that has a tendency to forget why we do the things we do. If it were up to me I’d have huge pictures up at every airport security checkpoint showing the airplanes flying into the World Trade Center . As well as pictures of the explosions that occurred when the jets slammed into the buildings and the people leaping to their deaths from the Towers. And I’d also have the explosion at the Pentagon along with the aftermath. As well as a picture of the field in Pennsylvania where that aircraft went down, due to passengers not letting the terrorists fly that aircraft into the White House or where ever it was headed. And as you go through the security lines at the airport I’d have the list of name of the innocent men, women and children that died that horrible day. The men and women that were part of the flight crews on each of the four planes. The men and women that were simply on board the airplanes for either business or pleasure. And the innocent children that were on the planes with their mom or dad or both. And the innocent men, women and children that died in the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon. And on a separate billboard/picture I’d list all the Police, Fire and EMS personnel that died that day doing their jobs and trying to save lives. Like I said, this country has a tendency to forget why we do the things we do and from time to time we need to be reminded. Unless you want another 9/11 or something worse to happen to refresh your memories.

Lastly I would like to take this time to address some other comments made. If you want to complain about the first class and business lanes as you enter the checkpoints, go complain to the airline. They set up the lines in front of the checkpoints because that is their area, not a federal checkpoint area. Therefore the only people who can make a change is you, go complain. You are a paying passenger just as those who are first class and business class. So complain to the airlines. And while you're complaining about that complain about the "booties" and zip lock baggies that are scattered throughout the checkpoints. There are some complaining about the "booties" to put over your bare feet, that they're too far away while you're divesting your property at the table and removing your shoes. Well again, it's the airlines who place those items within the area prior to going through the checkpoints. So go cry and whine to them. And lastly, those of you who are coming into the country either to go home or to visit this great country. Some of you seem to think that once you go through Customs and Immigration that you've been through security. Then you get to the TSA checkpoints and start whining and complaining. Well if you don't know how Customs and Immigration works let me break it down for you. Those agencies determine whether you're coming into the country with the proper and correct documents and also determine if you're bringing items into the country that aren't allowed. They DO NOT screen you, unless you've made them question your reason for being here, when you arrive in the country. For you uneducated I can break it down in easier terms if you'd like. You come to America. You have a passport. Customs and Immigration determine if you're allowed to enter the country. If you are they make sure you're not brining anything into America that's not allowed here. Does that make more sense now??? Then when you get done with Customs and Immigration you find yourself going through the TSA checkpoints. Now you're mad. "I've already been through security", "I went through security in London", "I went through security in Mexico", "They already dumped my bags out in Japan", and my favorite "I just came out of security down in Customs". Again, quit complaining and whining and crying and keep your mouth shut and just go through security. You'll find that once you do that and are done that it's not a big deal. And no one cares if you're late for your flight. Go cry to the airline because they're the reason why you're late.

Finally, it all boils down to us forgetting what happened on September 11, 2001. Each and every one of us know where we were that tragic day. Each and every one of us felt that same patrotic feeling after the numbness wore off about seeing those airplanes flying through the buildings. Watching people jumping out of the World Trade Center Towers from hundreds of feet up, knowing they were going to die either from the fire or from jumping to their deaths. We are a country that has a tendency to forget what happened that led us to where we are now. Some of you lost family and friends on September 11, 2001. That is why men and women stepped up and took a job with TSA to passenger and baggage screeners, to serve our country and provide a service and a layer of security to ensure another September 11th never happens again. Each and every day TSA Officers are verbally and physically abused by passengers and airline employees that do not care and have no respect for those who are trying to protect them and their families. And yes, you will run accross a TSA Officer who is rude and aggressive but if you've been verbally abused for almost 6 years now, since the creation of TSA, I'd truly think your customer service skills would be a little tarnished. And those TSA Officers go home every night to their families knowing what they are doing is very important for those traveling by air. So the next time your at the airport going through a TSA checkpoint take a minute and say "thank you" to the TSA Officers there. You'd be shocked to see a smile come accross that TSA Officers face and how much difference that would make to the TSA Officers you tell that too. Think about it.

Thank You

Submitted by Anonymous on

re: I’d first like to address those of you who think all TSA Officers are uneducated,

From the TSA website. Minimum education is a GED to apply.

Kip told us in one of his postings that TSO's receive a training program of 120 hours classrom and OJT training in order to work the security line.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Hmm... A previous blog states that TSA personnel are as adequately screened and educated as average federal employees; and states their personal horror at the events of 9/11. We all can relate to that sadness, and to the hope of adequate screening and education level of TSA employees.

The truth is many GED bearing folk still are under-eduated for security or customer service roles, and the the events of 9/11 are not related to the absurd and unrealistic screening choices of TSA procedures.

Shoes, or any other mechanism by which a wanna be terrorist (defined as someone who wants to hurt others for the purpose of political / religious statement) would transport something helpful to hijacking or destroying a plane, are just too plentiful to even consider that we should even try to screen for every passenger. The horrendous logistics and un-constitutional searches by far outweigh the minimal risk it addresses.

May I suggest that the TSA and airlines begin a security-free flight routing network across the U.S. which allows people who sign "I am a patriotic and fearless American, and your deluded security screening is a waste of time" waivers to board aircraft for flights which are routed away from the biggest terrorist targets, and which are hardwired to simply disintegrate if they approach any reasonably sensitive potential terror target.

I'd fly "C'mon - Let's just get there without pathetically useless security screening Airlines" anyday...

Submitted by Bob on

You can bring all kinds of bigger electronic battery-powered gear on the plane with you that will make a bigger boom. Why focus on the shoes? Just because a terrorist wanna-be constructed a poorly made bomb?

You can hide much more explosive in a lithium battery -- or heck, just "improperly" modify a lithium ion battery. Trust me, these things want to make a big explosion by nature, it takes a lot of effort to make sure that they safely shut off when they fail. Ten improperly discharged cell phone batteries with no safety circuitry blew out a corner of my office building (not my fault -- one of my coworkers). How many cell phones and laptop batteries are allowed on planes? ALL OF THEM.

Seriously, shoes are the least of your problems.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Ok, I've read some of the blogs on this page, I can hardly wait until I read the other pages. But I fly rather frequently and YES taking off your shoes is a big pain in the rear, and in my opinion, the risk is not worth the hassle. I think that several people on this blog have hit on several good topics.
1. Inconsistency, I've seen it every time I fly.
2. Power trips, some TSA agents, and I am sure it is the ones that haven't been on the job long have the need to enforce their new found power at random intervals. Example: While waiting on the TSA agent to check my Boarding pass with my ID she would yell at someone who didn't stand behind some line on the floor while we waited to be next. Yes she yelled at me as well, I had one foot on the line, the other behind it. Give me a break, I mean is treating everyone like elementary school kids really necessary? Is being 3 inches to far forward really a reason to be rude? Yes some passengers do act like elementary kids, but I believe the TSA agents shouldn't drop to that level of customer service.
3. regulations /training - I have NO doubt that the regulations are pushed down from the TSA without any regard to how it will affect the end user and the end agents are imposed to enforce them. But the end agents could remember that common courtesy and common sense goes a long way. I am also sure that TSA agents do go through a training regiment. I would hope they have at least annual if not semi-annual proficiency exams.

I realize why we have the security checkpoints, and I realize that I have to deal with it when I chose to travel by commercial airlines. But it is BOTH the TSA agents and the passengers to that have contributed to this problem. Neither side is innocent.

I would hope that someone at TSA reads, scans or reviews the inputs on their blog site. Amongst the snide and sarcastic remarks are some decent comments, and some concerns. It is questionable whether anyone official at TSA has reviewed this page, if they have, they have chosen not to comment.

Good Day,

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous wrote:
I would hope that someone at TSA reads, scans or reviews the inputs on their blog site. Amongst the snide and sarcastic remarks are some decent comments, and some concerns. It is questionable whether anyone official at TSA has reviewed this page, if they have, they have chosen not to comment.

Great points in your post, though I think you wrote prematurely. Once you read through the blog, you'll see that many of the TSA leaders, including the administrator, chief counsel and director of security ops have to address some key points. Thanks for reading and hope you will continue to expereince the impact this forum has on enhancing operations.

TSA Evolution Blog Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

Here is something for all to think about. If anyone has ever had the opportunity to fly on private or corporate plane, then they would know, there are NO x-rays to go through, No scanners, they don't take off their shoes and no lines. They board at their own private terminal they carry whatever they want on the plane and they leave whenever they are ready.
All of that to say We will never catch the dedicated ones. they are the top 1% of the people who have sworn to kill as many Americans as they can. They have money and they have patience. They are watching us, observing us and mocking us. They are probably already looking for ways we haven't thought of to get to us. They are probably already recruiting people that are loading the bags on the plane, restocking the drinks and food on the flights.
The steps that TSA are taking "to protect" us is only to make the masses feel better. Sure they might catch the wanna-bes or the uneducated terrorists. It's not them we should be worried about. It's the same in the drug trade, the smart ones hire idiots that are disposable to carry their drugs over the border, if they get caught , they try to get them across another way with someone else.

But the masses are not strong enough to do what it takes to stop terrorism. Neither is the government. Until both of these happen, shut up, take off your shoes, and get out of my way so I can get through the line. and just hope the fanaticals haven't found a new way to make a point with our lives

Submitted by Anonymous on

Hey y'all, if you don't want to take your shoes off, don't fly!!!!! It's as simple as that!!!!!!

Submitted by Anonymous on

As a longtime Transportation Security Officer I thank all of you for your continued patience and support. I beleive strongly in our mission of insuring safe air travel for our citizens as well as those from other nations. I understand the concerns about the removal of footwear, the lack of checkpoint accomadations and cleanliness issues. I'm sure by working together we can together find a reasonable solution without the use of sarcasim & tasteless comments. This is afterall a very new agency. Let's create an experience we can all be proud of.

Submitted by Frequent Flyer on
The biggest issue I have with the TSA in general is the lack off COMMON SENSE!!!!

Flip flops cannot hide explosives.

A big bottle of shampoo with less than 2 ounces of liquid is NOT a threat.

The whole deal with Ziploc bags should be explained as most people think it's even more ridiculous then the dumb security announcements that nobody ever listens to.

Not everybody can remove then put on and tie their shoes as fast as the TSA officers standing at the gate (Judging by their shouts I would think they can do itr in under ten seconds). For some people it takes time.

We are innocent until proven guilty. So until you're certain that we’re terrorists treat us like human beings!!!!
Submitted by Anonymous on

If you are going to have us take off are shoes can you have a bench where we can sit and put them back on? It would make things more convenient.


Submitted by Thevoiceofreason on

The TSA never learn never mind evolve and never are likely to while under pressure from a Congress that wants us to believe that we are all doomed; living under a threat the details of which they are not prepared to elaborate. So , they still check shoes and never find anything in them. And check laptops ouside a bag where they look exactly the same as the do inside.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Stop crying people just take them off and if you are a germ freak wear socks! Duh! Theres nothing more I hate when I hear someone complaining in front of me just get it done and get to your destination.

Submitted by Craig on

The presumption regarding the switch and wires in the shoe from Alaska is that they are part of a terrorist plot. That is not a valid presumption. There are a number of scenarios that would involve a toggle switch in a shoe, and only one involves terrorism. Without background information, the switch is a data point that is meaningless by itself.
Was the person wearing the shoes from a bush village? I know folks who carry toggle switches and wire to bypass the ignition on snowmobiles if they've lost the key. Back when I was a young Boy Scout, we were advised to hollow out the heel of our shoe and keep some waterproof matches, fishing line, and a fish hook in the heel.
Did he work in an electronics supply store where a loose part could have fallen into his shoe? I've found several odd items under the footpad of my shoes after working in industrial areas.
Did he shoplift from Radio Shack on his way to the airport?
Merely presenting the photo and saying "Aha! here's the proof for shoe screening" is an afront to reason.

Submitted by Anonymous on

did you ever think...maybe they know something we dont? let them do their jobs. the slowest thing at the airport are generally the people in front of me. wear slip ons. works for me...and socks.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The idea that screening our shoes makes us safer is ridiculous!!!

Submitted by Anonymous on

And now just imagine trying to get yourself and two young (under age 4) children through security. It's absolutely crazy. Furthermore, there is no staff available to help you wrestle coats off of children or hold a baby while you try to hoist a stroller onto the belt. I have never been so frustrated. The flight with children is 20 times easier than trying to get through security.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Personally, I commend the TSA for the job it does. Lets face it, if the job was easy, eveyone would want to be a screener.

My concern is after flying back on a recent trip to China. While we here in the US are subject to taking our shoes off before boarding a plane, in China, that is not the case.

While I was subjected to the usual of metal detectors and having my carry-on bags checked. I was not required to take off my shoes or other articles of clothing. This concerned me as from that point forward, I could get on any US flagged carrier or any other foreign aircraft.

This concerns me that countries where US companies fly to and return, do not have the same level or higher security than we do. Richard Reid did not start his flight in the US, but from abroad.

I dont mind taking off my shoes for the sake of security, but I do worry and question why we do it and other countries around the world do not and yet aircraft are originating flights here from there. There is a false sense of security here.

Submitted by Wesleybratt78 on

I have no problems taking my shoes off, but what I do have a problem with is having to put them in a bin. I also have a problem with walking on nasty carpet. Yes, I do have my socks on, but even germs can seep through your socks.

Submitted by Wesleybratt78 on

Actually, all airports I have been to have had exceptional TSOs. I only had one bad experience with a TSO and I believe that was at IAH, but I think she was having a bad day. So, and to the person who has an issue with overweight people sitting next to them, not all people are obese from eating. It is called genetics, and certain meds do it to you as well.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Time out people! Let's remember some things before you continue to rant on the shoe issue.

1)Screeners are people, like you, who are trying to earn an honest days pay then go home after putting up with the likes of all of us after doing so.

2)Congress mandated that ALL shoes be removed and xrayed. If you don't like it then instead of complaining to TSA screeners or blogging.....DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!! Write your Senator or Congressman to get the policies changed.

3)There will be a few inconsistencies from one airport to the next due to the Federal Security Director at that airport having directives in place. Also, it's Airport Operations, NOT TSA, who makes the decisions about whether or not to provide the traveling public special accomdations such as: chairs, carpet, booties, etc.

4)We didn't ask for OR want 9/11 to happen but it did. So, until airport security screening methods improve or something else occurs to switch the focus from keeping air travel safe.........

What Does It Hurt To Remove Your Shoes?

Submitted by Anonymous on

My concern as a diabetic is damage to my feet. If there are items left on the floor, stub a toe etc, it could mean major problems for me up to and including amputation.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I had an unpleasant experience with the TSA while traveling through BWI shortly after the introduction of the shoe removal policy. I asked the TSA screener at the magnetometer whether I needed to remove my shoes. She said "No." So, I left my shoes on and walked through the metal detector, and then she pulled me out of line for additional screening. The metal detector hadn't sounded an alarm, so I asked her what the problem was. She said, "You didn't remove your shoes." I said, "You said I didn't have to." She said, "No, you didn't have to, but since you didn't, we're extending an invitation to you for further screening." She should have told me from the start that I needed to remove my shoes, but she was playing word games with me and wasting my time. The screener made me undo the button on my pants and patted down my groin with the back of his hand. I was furious, and I'm still resentful of the experience. I felt bullied and like I had no one to complain to because I believed that speaking to any of the supervisors would cause me further discomfort.

I'm posting anonymously because I'm convinced that the TSA could flag my profile and make my travels especially miserable.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why is commenting disabled on the inconsistencies section. Have you solved all of those problems? For example, I flew out of Richmond (RIC) this morning and two pilots simply showed their IDs to a police officer outside of the security area and walked to their plane without going through the metal detectors. They walked up the hallway that passengers usually use to exit the gate area to get bags. A TSA person was right there watching it all happen. Since when are pilots not screened?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Wow... I am so touched that my government cares enough about my feelings that they have created this blog. Hello!!! Does anyone think this does anything? The current administration will have us all goose-stepping into obedience. Meanwhile, I agree with the Atlanta commentary. I live there as well. Why do I need to have my shoes tested *for the drive home*??? Utter nonsense, and I remain skeptical that this has prevented any new terrorist attack. If they really want to do it again, all the scanned shoes in the world won't stop them.

Submitted by Anonymous on

On eBay, if you do a search using the keyword "ntsa", you will turn up hundreds of items seized from passengers by TSA screeners and being resold. Pockets knives, corkscrews, Leatherman multitools and scissors sold in large quantity lots seem to be very popular. Are these sales officially condoned by the TSA? If not, shouldn't TSA screeners start being punished for theft?

Also, the Liquids, Inconsistencies and Gripes&Grins topics have comments disabled. ie. There is no Post A Comment link at the bottom.

Nothing like our tax dollars at work!

Submitted by Anonymous on

I lost one classmate in 9/11.

Another one ran for her life and ducked inside a bar to flee pieces of flying concrete the size of small cars.

Three of my other classmates lost parents.

You want me to take of my shoes? You got it.

I'm all for civil liberties, but you'll never hear me complain about the TSA. Take of the shoes people, and be thankful that you're alive to do it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I agree with others that there is a need for a place to put your shoes back on with seats. Not everyone is capable of putting shoes on while standing.