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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.

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on

I agree that the removing shoes is a pain; I try to wear slip on shoes that are easy to remove and put on. However, I wish that there could be some consideration for people who cannot easily remove their shoes; my 81 year old mother cannot remove her shoes without sitting down, so she is treated like a criminal. Just let her walk through the security and sit down and let someone check her shoes. When she flies by herself, she is concerned about not getting her purse and carryon from the belt because she is being wanded and screened. There needs to be some special consideration for elderly and handicapped passengers. They want to cooperate, but they have special needs and concerns.

Submitted by Kelly Of San Diego on

One thing that I am curious about is who do we talk to really make a change, I think its obvious that no one likes the shoe policy and frankly don't think security is as tight as they are claiming to be, but has the tsa taken any of our complaints into consideration, has anyone tried talking to Airlines? It would seem as though it would be their best interest to try and make a change. I know that airlines have a lot already on their plates, but just from reading only a few of these posts, people are saying that they are avoiding taking a plane in the states as much as possible. So wouldn't it make sense that airlines would try and put up even a little bit of a fight to keep those customers and even gain new customers.

Submitted by Anonymous on

anonymous said...

"After looking at the picture it seems like it would be a lot easier to hide the explosives on your groin or arm pit. Someone could also hide it on many different parts of their bodies if their clothes are baggy enough."

I am a screener and you make a good point about it being easier to hide explosives on your persons. But we try to limit the possiblity of that by asking passangers to take off all outer wear including blazers, suit jackets, sports jackets, sweaters, and coats. And if a person is wearing a shirt or sweatshirt, with nothing underneath, that is too baggy and we can't see the conture of their body, we send them in for additional screening, which is a patdown. So it is very difficult to hide anything on yourself. as for pockets, if we see a bulky pocket we ask you to remove property from your pockets and send it through the x-ray.

Submitted by Anonymous on

anonymous said...

"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 am a TSO and if I am clear, you are a person with disability that gets a Full Body Patdown rather than walking through the metal detector. If i am correct, the TSO should NOT ask to send your watch through the x-ray machine. Do Not stop flying, instead, ask for a supivisor next time. The only time a watch, or any jewelry for that matter, should be sent through the x-ray is if it alarms the walk through metal detector. And even in that case you do not have to take your jewelry off, you can request additional screening instead. I hope this has helped.

Submitted by Anonymous on

kelly of san diego said...

"One thing that I am curious about is who do we talk to really make a change, I think its obvious that no one likes the shoe policy and frankly don't think security is as tight as they are claiming to be, but has the tsa taken any of our complaints into consideration, has anyone tried talking to Airlines? It would seem as though it would be their best interest to try and make a change. I know that airlines have a lot already on their plates, but just from reading only a few of these posts, people are saying that they are avoiding taking a plane in the states as much as possible. So wouldn't it make sense that airlines would try and put up even a little bit of a fight to keep those customers and even gain new customers."

I am a TSO and maybe the airlines appreciate our hardwork and our mission.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The number 1 issue here is that people tend to forget the past. No one should ever complain about the security check-in process and the lenghth of time it takes to get through. I think they should make it even more rigid. it seems they are always looking for ways to make it eaisier and the answer is should be to make it more rigid. If people don't like it they shouldnt fly. For those of us that fly weekly I am amazed at the complaining people do about the lines and the process. Heres a tip get there earlier your procrastination should not be our problem. Also it amazes me at the differences in rigidity of security at all the different airports. As I said I fly every week and have been to at minimum 20 different airports in the last 3 months and it amazes me that Boston's Logan is still the most lax. They are so lazy they don't even use the new black light pens to check ID's they are constantly talking and not paying attention to the xray machine and it is the only airport where if I forget to remove my bag of liquids, gels, and other personal items from my bag it never gets noticed and the bag saild through. The TSA needs to do something about Boston. Remember they are the reason we are in the position today. If they had been watching and doing there jobs we would not be in this place today. It sickens me everytime I see them just all standing around and to think people lives are in their hands. If you don't believe me use terminal E early in the morning and you will see that no one is paying attention

Submitted by Anonymous on

We just traveled to Cabo in Mexico, and the San Jose Del Cabo Airport was not following what I thought were THE guidelines to be followed by ALL airports. They didn't screen shoes, and then at the gate-just before boarding the plane-they went through our carry-ons, AGAIN, and confiscated our water one of which had not even been opened yet, and that was purchased AFTER security check points in the dining areas in the terminal!!!! Needless to say we were NOT pleased, it was hot and we had had a LONG wait for our delayed flight! I don't know who to complain to but they need to be watched. . .when we told the person checking our bags that we were supposed to be allowed the water AFTER security, they just looked at us like they didn't understand what we were saying! So if terrorists want to smuggle items in their shoes they will certainly learn that Mexico is the place to go!!! SCARY!! I hope something comes of this email, I would rather be barefoot and alive than the alternative! Dehydrated in CA

Submitted by Anonymous on

A Suggestion: Please put shoe rests on the side of the conveyor belts. For those who still wear laced up shoes, the shoe rests provide a safe and comfortable way to tie your shoes.

Submitted by Anonymous on

In response to 100kflyer, I liked your analogy to the cost VS benefits of extra security measures a person could take. That same analogy easily applies to TSA operations and equipment, the fancy new scanners and puffers need to be placed in the areas where they can be best used for capacity and results.

A terrorist, or nut case, could very possibly try hiding an explosive inside a shoe again. Their reasoning being that since someone has already done that and been caught, nobody would expect someone else to try the same thing. Also there are many other things which could be hidden inside a shoe and be found by X-ray. But does it really take the average person 10 minutes to put their shoes on?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Liz, Just a quick response to your comment about placing shoes on the belt instead of in bins. Although I don't believe it is technicall required that they be placed on the belt (will have to check on it), it is helpfull if they are sitting upright when x-rayed. Largely we are simply trying to keep the bins clean for yourself and everyone else to use for coats, computers, and etc. It's amusing to see so many people come through the checkpoint everyday placing their shoes in a bin, but their expesive coats directly on the belt for x-ray.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I see a lot of people commenting about removing their shoes, and not having a place to sit and put them back on. There have been, and continue to be MANY, MANY more altered shoes discovered through x-ray screening than the simplified example shown here. Also the TSA controlls only a small fraction of the total space inside an airport. When you complain about having no place to sit down consider that this may be as much an airport issue with what faciliteis are being provided as with the TSA.

Submitted by Anonymous on

In response to the anonymous poster on March 30 quoted as

"Examples of finding known felons, illegal immigrants, drug users/dealers are all fine and good, but they are a law enforcement gig, not TSA. They were not terroists. True they are people that are wanted for other things, but then the if that is really what is coming out of TSA, then they should be a part of law enforcement and advertise themselves as such"

We are required by law to contact local authorities anytime any of these items or persons are discovered.

Submitted by Sewerratt007 on

Screen it all, I will never feel 100% safe at least the TSA is visible. What about pilots striking or mechanics not doing required repairs. The TSA is doing a great job and I thank them for it. Foot fungus get real! I far as I am concerned they can make everyone strip to their skivys and then get scanned! God bless the USA and our screeners, scanners and decontrabanners!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Please add a shoe rest to the conveyor belt. It would assist those with tying their lace shoes.

Submitted by Anonymous on

So why don't we just have the TSO's untie, tie and clean the passengers shoes as well. get real people! There is a reason we take the shoes off. I am sure these same people that complain about walkinga round with no shoes, because of getting a "Fungus" do not think twice at their home, or the beach to take their shoes off. You are more likely to get "athletes foot" at home more that at the airport. If they don't want to follow the rules, there is always "Greyhound" available for them.

Submitted by Anonymous on

It really makes me laugh to see what some of the unintelligent come on here and post. Everything from shoes coming off at this airport and not that one. Or liquids coming out at this airport and not that one. You people have no concept of security yet you come on here to whine and complain. True idiots. Let me clairfy some things, since I actually know a thing or two about security and law enforcement and beyond. If you're going to follow each and every rule in security then you will fail and bad things will happen. That is why you do something different in every airport, to change it up so that the "bad" people out there have no idea what to expect. That's how you provide great security. If we all had to take our shoes off at every airport then the "bad" people know that therefore they will try something else. Does that make sense to you unintelligent bloggers? During my time traveling I witnessed TSA screening an infant. Yeah, an infant. People behind me were laughing and making rude comments as to TSA screening a baby. Well genius, if I'm a hard core terrorists and I want to carry out my mission I will do and use whatever it takes to get through security. And yes, that includes putting things or strapping things to a baby or small child. If you don't think this thing goes on you need to take a little time and do some research. Yes, it does happen. Even using the elderly to get things through. How? Well if I'm a "bad" guy and I want to get something into the airport or on a plane then I'm going to find me someone who poses no threat. A baby or an elderly traveler. And I'm going to threaten them in some sort of way to carry something with them inside. Trust me, if you have ever been truely threatened you know you're going to do what it takes to remain unharmed or whomever/whatever that threat is against. It may be against your family or someone you care about. Regardless you're going to do as you're told to protect yourself or someone you care about. Now that I've explained to some of you why security/law enforcement do the things they do I'd like to address the customer service side of things.
Some of you have posted bloggs on here about the way TSA officers treat you. Let me start off with the ones who say TSA "barks" or "yells" at you. There are those out there who have no concept of what they're doing at the security checkpoints. Once I had a woman ask a TSA officer the same question about 10 times. I'm not kidding. The same question. And each time the answer was the same. Then you have those who are shocked because they have to take off their shoes. Geez, have you been under a rock? Shoes have been coming off for a long time now. Then you have those who feel they need to stand right there at the x-ray exit and get everthing back together and dressed again. GET OUT OF MY WAY! Geez. I really think 90% of you who fly are truely IDIOTS! Do you check your brain in with your bags? Come on. And then you want to come on here and gripe and whine about something you had to do at the airport. If you can't read and follow the pictures just get out of line and take the train. So then the TSA officers make their announcements to inform you but yet you still screw it up for the rest of us.
What it boils down to is that if you don't like the rules in place then DON'T FLY! These men and women at TSA get treated like dirt, worse than that, every day of the week by passengers and airline employees. Every day! I've seen it first hand. I've seen TSA officers spit on, cussed at, assaulted, threatened and so much more. Would you treat your daughter or son like that? Or your wife or husband? Or your grandfather or grandmother? I hope you wouldn't. Would you cuss out the TSA officer if it was your son or daughter or someone you loved and cared about? No you wouldn't. So if you have a TSA officer who is "yelling" or "barking" think about what all they have to go through every day of the week to provide us security.

Submitted by Dyspraxic Funda... on

Go TSA!

I am so glad you chaps are defending your policy.

Here in the UK it is a bit more inconsistent; sometimes you have to remove your shoes, sometimes you don't. I think it should be mandatory just like in the USA.

Keep up the good work!

Submitted by Anonymous on

First the sharp objects, then shoes, then liquids... it seems like our security plan is, "See what the terrorists have used, and make sure NOBODY can take those things on the plane." (I suppose we should be thankful that no one has hijacked a plane by strangling a flight attendant with pantyhose! We would have to watch all the women take off their pantyhose at the checkpoint!)
Interesting... Israeli security is the most effective in the world, and they don't focus on any of these... They look for those who fit "suspect" groups and target suspicious behavior. It seems to work.
We think profiling is unfair. Is it more "fair" to inconvenience EVERYONE?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I have a horrible time every time we fly with my four year old and this shoe policy. He has sensory issues, and has a huge problem with having his shoes removed. Every time I have to "fight" him to the ground and force off his shoes, all while juggling my baby and our carryons. As all this is going on the TSA agents just stand and stare, no one offering to help me in any way, or providing a alternative to this screening. It is so frustrating that I have to go through this every time we fly, and that the TSA honestly thinks it is necessary to subject a four year old and his very harried mother to this kind of upset. I have no problem removing my own shoes, but is it really necessary for young children? On top of my son's issues, these children often can't get their own shoes on and off and it creates more of a bottleneck for other travelers.

Submitted by Snuggle Comfort on

Carpeted floors all around the checkpoint would be greatly appreciated. The number one complaint is " This is disgusting" "The Floor is cold". Well if you provide carpeted floor, then in the winter time when someone has to travel, they would be more comfortable if they did'nt have to remove shoes just to stand on a freezing cold solid floor, but if you provide a comfortable carpet then it would add to overall satifaction, But you must vacuum these carpets, At least every couple of hours. The main concern is Foot Fungus/ Swamp feet and some people have it, I'm pretty sure no one wants to walk behind an individual with foot fungus, those are footsteps we just don't want to walk in! Think of it like this If we ask an employee of yours to change their gloves, before searching our bags, Then would you change your floors?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Here is something to consider for the hundreds of people who commented on this. How hard is it to wear socks????? I mean seariously you just grab them, put them on one foot at a time and your good to go and that way you won't have to worry about any fungus also. Also, is that there are places to sit and put your shoes on in every airport, you guys are just mad because you might have to walk 50-100 feet to get there. Quit being so lazy america and quit griping about this.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Hey TSA, as a "Security" detail, you are working for the wrong team. All that you do only moves us one step closer to being a fascist country. I cannot stand a single thing about the DHS or TSA and I think that the rules and regulations are completely ridiculous. I am glad that I make it a point to NEVER fly so I don't have to deal with the idiocy that most American Sheep think will help protect them against a non-existant terrorist threat.

The TSA and DHS Disgust me. I dare you to post this, because I know you won't

Submitted by Jim Huggins on

Anonymous writes:

If you're going to follow each and every rule in security then you will fail and bad things will happen. That is why you do something different in every airport, to change it up so that the "bad" people out there have no idea what to expect. That's how you provide great security.

If you want to play the game that way, then don't expect me to know the rules before I get to the checkpoint. After all, you're telling me that you're going to change the rules arbitrarily at the checkpoint, so there's no point in me being prepared ahead of time for a set of rules that might, or might not, be enforced.

You can't have it both ways. Either tell me to expect utter randomness (and don't penalize me when my bags don't meet today's regulations), or provide me with a consistent screening experience (and then you can yell at me if I'm not prepared for it). Which one do you want?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Well,what can I say and people will listen and not complain? Nothing!You say how many shoe bombs have we caught,maybe the reason we have not found any is because we check!

Little kids and old people are no exception.Because terrorists do not discriminate.It could be the old sweat lady sitting next to you.
Please people just wear socks!
TSA has nothing to do with the floors being dirty. We just simply rent space in the airports.Complain to the airport about rugs and chairs to sit in.Yes there are some rude TSO's. But there are just as many rude PAX actually more!There are just as many mean and nasty waitresses,store clercs,police officers,ect.What is the difference?

Submitted by Steve Madden on

I agree that there are multiple scenarios where you could be catching athlete's foot other than airports.
I just read an article that showed how the airports are selling advertising space on the trays you use to place your shoes in. Now, that is taking commercialism a bit too far !

Thanks

Steve

Submitted by Anonymous on

I use to be able to balance easily on one foot to put my shoes on, but no more. Now I definitely need a place to lean or sit to put them back on, but it's tricky to do when I can't find anything like that quickly, if at all, because my husband, who is in a wheelchair, has his shoes off, has almost been undressed and pretty well twisted backwards in his wheelchair, and I need to get to him fast to help him. All this is followed by the dirty looks because though we are now both in the less speed pressured security area due to his handicap, we are STILL not moving along quickly enough. Don't let me get into how he is treated like BAGGAGE by some airlines when they 'assist' him to board on the plane.

Submitted by Branded Shoes on

I had been through this process too, i don't mind getting my shoes checked. But my only object is that when we are being checked why isn't there any sitting or comfortable arrangements to get our shoes laced up or putting them on.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The same question has been asked many times and there has been no answers given by the TSA responders. What are the statistics. How many real threats have been thwarted by the ridiculous shoe removal policy? The anecdotal, "I personally found a razor blade" is useless in this context. How many shoes were looked at before the single razor blade was found?
There seems to be no empirical evidence that shoe removal makes air travel a tiny bit safer, although it certainly makes it extremely annoying.
If the statistics cannot or will not be produced that can back up the dubious positions of the TSA responders, its time for them to admit that they are tilting at windmills and take some more meaningful training.
Shoe removal is, as many have pointed out, for show, it does nothing to make anyone any safer.

Submitted by Anonymous on

For those of you who question why pilots and flight attendants "breeze" through security, let me offer a couple of comments:
-- Pilots and FAs, though not required to remove shoes or limited to 3 oz. containers in a 1 qt. plastic bag, our bags are still x-rayed and even micro scissors are confiscated.
-- If we beep going through the detector, we go through the same humilating additional screening that the traveling public endures.
-- Finally, and most importantly, pilots and FAs should be considered an integral part of the security team and not a security threat. IMHO, we should not be screened whatsoever and should be treated like the professionals we are.

Your outrage should be directed at part-time TSA screeners who, because of their new metal badges, are not required to go through security. They have already been caught in NYC and Miami smuggling money and drugs through security.

I encourage each of you to continue this grass roots effort to smack some sense into an out of control and empire happy TSA.

Pilot, major airline

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...
anonymous said...

"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 am a TSO and if I am clear, you are a person with disability that gets a Full Body Patdown rather than walking through the metal detector. If i am correct, the TSO should NOT ask to send your watch through the x-ray machine. Do Not stop flying, instead, ask for a supivisor next time. The only time a watch, or any jewelry for that matter, should be sent through the x-ray is if it alarms the walk through metal detector. And even in that case you do not have to take your jewelry off, you can request additional screening instead. I hope this has helped.

April 5, 2008 11:39 PM

not true...if his watch was in his pocket then yea it would have to go through x ray

Submitted by Anonymous on

Removal of shoes is humiliating, degrading, and pointless. I do not feel ONE BIT safer flying because all my fellow passengers have to remove their shoes. There are an infinity of ways that terrorism can succeed, and shoe bombs are pretty low on the probability scale. As the results of your expensive and tiresome shoe-scanning process no doubt reveals. In Germany there is no such procedure. Give me a break, TSA.

Submitted by Tim on

I think it is crazy for older people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis to have to remove their shoes.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am an Australian and visited the US prior to 9/11. Found the places I visited and the people lovely. After 9/11 and the Richard Reid incident I have never been back and will never return precisely because of the shoes-off policy. I travel every year on holidays and prefer to go to Europe or Asia where the policy appears more sensible regarding footwear. I always makes sure I wear something with thin soles and except on one occasion in Paris, have never been required to remove my footwear. It just seems one should not have to risk contracting a foot disease just in order to travel. I am just one person but think how many more there are in the world who will never visit the US because of this. Pity...

Submitted by Anonymous on

The dirty floors at the airport are gross and I don't want to step on it bare footed. It's not just fungus but virus and bacteria.

Submitted by London Forum on

I would agree with the above, I would guess that you wouldn't need much of an explosive to cause fatal damage to a plane, and that means you could use anything from a watch, a hat,an mp3 player etc So why all the focus on shoes other than pretending that everything is covered?

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