Thursday, January 31, 2008

Shoes (Commenting Disabled)

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:

Photo of a device hidden in the sole of a running shoePhoto of a device hidden in the sole of a running shoePhoto of a device hidden in the sole of a running shoe

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.


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Teine said...

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.


Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Sandra said...

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.

J. said...

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.

mello said...

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!

Anonymous said...

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!

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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.

baby boomer said...

"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!

Anonymous said...

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

Sandra said...

"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.

Rick James said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Gary H said...

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!

David said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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?

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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...

Bob said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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,

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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.

Frequent Flyer said...

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!!!!

Anonymous said...

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.


thevoiceofreason said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Craig said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

wesleybratt78 said...

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.

wesleybratt78 said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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?

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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?

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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!

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

Due to the shoe removal, which I feel is inconsistently applied and just plain silliness, as well as the other rules such as limiting liquids and whatever, I just no longer fly at all. I drive or just don't go.

I frankly don't think the government will be satisfied until we can only fly wearing hospital gowns after having full cavity searches. Until Americans decide that they aren't going to put up with it, it will just get more and more invasive.

So sad for our country. We used to be the land of the free and the brave. Now we are the shoeless and the cowed.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

I too have a major issue with the TSA personnel. I too find many with an attitude and not a good one. I too look for consistency such as a sign in Portland that says you do not have to remove your shoes, then you get to the checkpoint and find out it's not an option. How about my son whose deodorant was confiscated because the x-ray revealed "something inside." Yah, the screw that raises the stick! I am reited from the US Army after 28 years and feel I have done more to secure this country than TSA ever will.

Anonymous said...

For those of you worried about walking barefoot while your shoes are being screened, why not just wear socks...a protective barrier? Flip flops should be worn at the beach only, so that is not an excuse. If more people would just think ahead and be prepared to take their shoes off, they would wear slip-on shoes with socks and the entire process would go quickly and smoothly. Duh!

Anonymous said...

About 2 years ago I was flying from Manchester, NH. As I went through the screening process I was required to put my foot ( with my shoes on) one at a time into a small box with a red
and a green light on top. Upon getting a green light I placed the other foot in the box. After receiving another green light I was allowed to pass on to the rest of the screening process.
I thought "What a great Idea".
Whatever happened to that Idea?

Anonymous said...

Hello! Shoes are a pet peeve of mine. I hate taking them off and then rush on the other side to get them back on. I travel through the airport every week. I would love for a way for you to identify my shoes as a frequent traveler with some kind of sticker. Then if needed randomly check them. Again do a special background check on me if needed but please let me keep my shoes on!

Nick said...

What I don't understand is... We don't fix a problem until somebody is either injured, or at worst - death. A guy puts a bomb in a shoe and tries to get away with it. So now we have to make our lines even longer because some imbiscle thought he was clever.

If people want to cause harm bad enough, they will find a way where the US Security hasn't thought of yet and will win. Case in point: 9/11 but let's not EVEN go there.

That was the short and condensed version... it's late.

I'm putting together a website of my own for articles like these. Every user is an automatic author to the blog. You can type and publish stories of your own to share with others.


Bob said...

Joe D said... Of course it's about Richard Reid. Before he tried to set his shoes on fire, I never had my shoes checked. The first time I flew after that, I had my shoes checked at every single checkpoint. Now I wear sandals when flying specifically to avoid that particular hassle.

I'm going through the blog and compiling questions and suggestions for future articles, etc. and this comment caught my eye. So I thought I'd chime in.

While traveling through Frankfurt Germany in 2000, a large German man in a suit asked me to remove my shoes. Having never heard of this before, I asked him if he was joking. His reply was "Do I look like I'm joking big man?"

So to my knowledge, Germany was doing this prior to Richard Reid and 9/11.


TSA EoS Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Come on, people. You think the TSA cares if you get foot fungus? Although I will admit I think they do a better job than back in the pre-TSA days of airline-hired dropouts, they certainly haven't excelled in customer service. And they certainly go WAY overboard on some issues. But let's face it, they are run by the "plastic wrap and duct tape" crowd.

The fact is that we are safer than ever from hijackings, but not due to any shoeless circus you go through at the airport. The reason is the flying public will simply not allow there to be another hijacking. I envision whole planeloads of people attacking any would-be hijackers en masse, before they can gain control of any plane, and much less the cockpit, ever again. We, the flying public, simply won't allow it to happen. We learned from 9-11, much like the passengers on UA Flight 93 did.

The scariest part of flying is the uninspected cargo that flies in the belly of the plane. Cargo that is non-passenger-related. It is great to hear that the TSA is employing more bomb-sniffing dogs to inspect more of this cargo. I personally believe that we would be more effective and safer spending our dollars on 100% cargo inspection than x-raying baby's booties and flip flops.

But alas, this is a government agency that must follow the age-old pattern of 3 steps back for every step forward.

So get used to taking off your shoes, and flying with uninspected cargo under your feet until they come to their senses.

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Anonymous said...

It is amazing how all of the travellers are complaining about taking off shoes, getting screened, etc. Does it not dawn on them that if the TSA did NOT do any screening and, God forbid, something DID happen, those same people would be screaming that the TSA should have known this was going to happen and should have screened everyone closer! I am glad they are looking out for us. I do realize that wanding and screening little old ladies and infants seems a bit much, but there are ruthless murderers out there that will use this weakness to carry out their wicked plans. Look at the Middle East for goodness sake - innocent looking women and their children have been suicide bombers. We should definitely not take anything at face value when these people who wish us harm are so very clever.

tara said...

For all those so concerned about germs on the floor are you telling me you dont walk around your own home without shoes on? You are just as likely in your own home to get some sort of infection as on the TSA inspection floor. That is unless you mop your floor multiple times per day. As an employee of an airport I go through security multiple times per day for the last three years and have yet to obtain any sort of infection.
Besides, you know when you go to the airport you are going to be asked to remove your shoes so why not plan ahead? Is it really necessary to wear contracting boots, a belt, have ten dollars in change in your pocket, and be wearing so much jewelry it sets off the alarms? A little simple planning would solve a lot of issues.

Anonymous said...

Here is the deal.... It about control!! I fly every week and this whole idea that some nut is going to blow up a plane is insane. First, if there is anything in those shoes that will bot set off the MAG then you could just carry it in your pants strapped to your leg. Same stupidity about the GELS and Liquids (LOL). Bascially the TSA is a joke and bascially the system is setup so that one guy or lady that flies once a yr. can say "OOOOOOHHH look at all this secuity and man it must be safe" My take if they wanna get you they will and I beleive the airports are not first on thier lists anymore. They know they probably won't get away with it again as the ppl on the plane will be more aggressive than last time. IT IS A CONTROL DEAL..... When are you guys gonnna get it.... SO MUCH FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES!!! The Natzis made you carry papers and bascially that is what we are doing now huh!!!

Anonymous said...

removing shoes is the most ludicrous waste of our time and money. This is another safety sham perpetrated by our gov't. to "pretend" we are safe. This is up there with the years of asking us at airports wether or not our luggage was left unattended. Meanwhile, terrorists with the FBI's knowledge/awareness is highjacking planes. Our energies and monies should be targeted to more realistic threats

CruiseloverfromOKC said...

Here is what we need to do in all airports. When I was going through DFW after checking in to get on my flight home, you had to go through this puff machine, which does not require you to take your shoes off. That way we will not face foot diseases and anything else we are afraid of contracting in our feet.

Anonymous said...

Leaving the issue of explosives detection aside for a moment, there is at least one really good reason to take off your shoes and put them through the X-Ray that most American travellers don't seem to get: In Canada, passengers are only required to remove their shoes if they set of an alarm or if their is a specific suspicion about them. Because of this, a ridiculous amount of people will walk through metal detectors with their high heels or even just regular shoes with a steel shank in them that of course, sets of the alarm. This means that they will be scanned and possibly have the shoes examined more closely which slows down eveybody behind them. Taking off your shoes speeds up the line (big time!) regardless of what you think about how effective the measure is in terms of security.

Anonymous said...

I am not happy about removing my shoes because it is just gross, but why does the VERY grumpy TSA agent in Ft Lauderdale require that I and my young daughters also remove our socks? He was very GRUMPY (just plain rude). What is the policy on wearing socks through screening? What can be done if I am indeed allowed to wear socks and I am asked to remove them again in the future?

Anonymous said...

I have also had my bare feet inspected before the screener returned my sandals, with velcro fasteners, to me in Seattle. These same sandals had been waved through in Detroit.
I have a problem with arthritis. Pain in my feet makes walking barefoot on hard floors anything from excruciating to impossible. I have never seen the opportunity to invoke the ADA and get through with shoes on.

Anonymous said...

Too all of you who ask what do we find in shoes? i am a TSA Officer and I found a handgun stuffed into the steel toe of a shoe. so yes there are things we find in peoples shoes.

Anonymous said...

Putting the shoes in the same bins as my coat, bag, keys, wallets and etc gives me the creeps. Has anyone at TSA ever heard of the term called "CROSS CONTAMINATION"?

Please can we have seperate bins for shoes?

Anonymous said...

I don't mind all the checking but I do have an issue with the selected checking of only travelers!

I travel every week for work and every airport I travel from I see employees of the airport and other TSA people go through:

1. The begining of the line and not waiting in line for their turn.

2. Never have taken off shoes EVER!

3. Crew with the same process.

So if I was ever late to a gate, rarely because I am still showing 1-2 hours before my flight, I am told that I need to complain to the TSA anout missing my flight. (yeah like they ever care) There all I hear is "You should have been here earlier" and also have seen only 1-2 lines open when 4-6 or more need to be open for the rush hours in the morning of business travelers.

Shouldn't the rule be what is good for one is good for everyone?

Dave in Atlanta said...

Europe doesn't have this idiotic rule. They have been dealing with terrorists a lot longer than we have in the US. They don't see this as a viable threat. Only in America can we take hysteria to the extreme. This slows lines up considerably! This is insane nonsense. Honestly. I get so angry at airports about this shoe situation.

And I completely agree, they make you take your shoe, belt and everything else off and then provide no nice place to put all this back on. Sometimes some old chairs. Why is that? I live in Atlanta, what is wrong with our airport that they can't have a decent chair to put your shoes back on. We spend millions on people to yell at you to take your shoes off.. a few chairs?

To me this is American stupidity at it's very worst. Really? Shoes? Of course the TSA has planted shoe bombs to test the x-ray technicians. That doesn't make it a real threat and worth the time which then makes the lines incredibly long.

Bob said...

March 26, 2008 5:48 PM Dave in Atlanta said... Europe doesn't have this idiotic rule.

I can't speak for the last few years, but before 9/11 and before anybody even knew who Richard Reid was, I was asked to remove my shoes in Frankurt, Germany. It was around 2000 or 2001.


TSA EoS Blog Team

Anonymous said...

I'm just curious why it's so hard to simply follow the rule that are set. In this day an age the only reason you should need is that it is for your best interest to do what is asked, and you will go on your way. No one is making you fly- it is of your own volition that you go through the airports, and thus through the security that is set there. Wear some socks. Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off. It's simple. You can even bring a pair of socks with you that you put on when you take your shoes off, and take off once you are finished. Washing machines do exist. Lets not forget that this is a young organization, and has been essentially tossed into every airport nationwide overnight. They are trying to reconfigure the checkpoints to be most consumer friendly, but they can only provide the space they've been given to use. The airports are often privately owned and don't want to give TSA much space.

As to the comments about how bad our security is in this country- travel out of the country; try going to Israel. You don't get a carry on, you get a full pat down each and every time, and the screeners there carry machine guns. Argue with them about your rights as a passenger and you may get shot.

Anonymous said...

I wonder... why are the airport and TSA employees exempt from removing their shoes?

Don't tell me it is because they are NOT getting on an airplane. What is to prevent them from giving their shoes to a person that is going to get on an airplane?

We all know from the news reports that their have been some persons hired as airport employees that should never be able to even be at an airport.

So TSA, why? And also why do airport/TSA employees get to cut in-front of the travelers? Does not seem fair to me - get in line just like the rest of the world.

I'm just tired of the whole thing.

divo73 said...

Im ok with removing the shoes if it means saving lives.

Anonymous said...

The shoe thing was a reaction to Richard Reid. Thats a fact. The liquid thing is a reaction to the incident in London. The key thing here is reaction. Since 2001, America has taken a reactive approach to CT. The problem is that the enemy isn't stupid, well, with the exception of Richard Reid ;) He would have blown off his feet likely, but, the amount if triacetone peroxide in question wouldn't have damaged the aircraft.

Anyway, I have a problem with the shoe issue since I was originally told I could walk through in flip flops. Well, thats changed now, and I picked up a very nasty form of Athlete Foot in Atlanta a few months ago. It took 4 weeks to get rid of, and my wife and daughter both got it from me. Very bad experience.

However, I completely agree with the liquid thing, I had the good luck to have lunch with a US Marshall who was a part of that investigation, and while I won't discuss any details of our conversation, I will tell you that the liquid threat is the biggest threat as far as carry on "liquid" explosives go. I can also tell you that the London incident was the absolutely the greatest anti-terrorist airline offensive since the 2001 attacks. The US and British governments did a fantastic job, and save thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of lives, literally. I was amazed how little press the government got on that event. People have no clue just how dangerous that group was. Unlike Richard Reid, that threat was a real one. They would have killed thousands. In my opinion, law enforcement should have gotten way more press on the incident than was given. They truly saved our lives. In fact, I was in MEM that day, and my flight was canceled because of the incident. But, I didn't care, I could have been a victim instead.

On another note, reactive measures are not what we should be doing now. 90 year old ladies on airplanes are not what we need to be focusing on. The fact is that another airline attack in the US by terrorists is HIGHLY unlikely in my opinion. I think they will do something else first. If it is an airline attack, it'll likely be exploding teddy bears, laptop batteries, etc, etc. They aren't going to use liquids and shoes next time. I just wish we had technology to sniff out nitrates. There has to be a way, granted, I barely passed chemistry in college, but, there has to be some way to scan for explosives. I know they can swab for nitrates, but, what about a way to scan for them, if we could safely scan people, and luggage for nitrates, we would be protected. I'm not even worried about box cutters since Americans on planes these days are a lot less likely to cooperate with a nutball carrying a paperclip, cork screw, etc. I for one would gladly join my fellow passengers in a terrorist take down, I miss football, but thats another story. Anyway,

I don't want to say it in this posts, but, we need to look at other security holes like "ventilation" systems in large buildings. Thats what scares me. I live and work in several large buildings in a big city every day and see ground level intakes at street level everyday. Thats what I'm more afraid off. We need to pass laws to make all intakes rooftop set, and alarmed, sensor-ed, etc, etc.

Maybe it's just paranoia, but, personally, when I get sent out on the job, I spend as little time as possible in any high rise.

Instead of constantly reacting, we need to be proactive. Out think the bad guys, get a blog setup where people can secretly notify authorities of potential threats and risks. The London job was fantastic, in fact, we should have parades to commemorate it. People just don't know how close we came to disaster.

As far as airline security policy goes, the TSA needs to apply simple mathematics. Look at historical data on attacks, use that data to target potential offenders. As a frequent flier, and a frequent reader, every time I'm at the airport, I can clearly see that the TSA is incorrectly targeting potential threats. If they would sit down, look at all the data on previous incidents, OR, better yet, get the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit to create a terrorist profile, and use that as a blueprint on where to focus security.

The FBI created that ingenious unit to catch bad guys, why can't the TSA use the same tactics regarding specifically airline threats. It really works, they catch serial killers all the time with it, why not apply the same tactics to catch airline threats???

All in all, the only bad experience I've had was the Athletes Foot problem. To date, I'm still not sure exactly what kind it was, I had it playing sports in College, but, whatever I caught in Atlanta literally caused the skin to peel from my feet. It was unbelievable and highly contagious.

I do have one funny TSA story... I was flown to Memphis to fix something, thats what I do, I fix things. Anyway, I worked 18 hours straight, and went to MEM to return home on a 5am flight. I was "dinged" and taken to the search section. Anyway, while sitting there in the chair, I completely fell asleep. I propped my head up on my arm, and completely passed out, while she was searching my carry on's. The next thing I know the TSA lady is shaking me saying "Are you Okay???" My business partner was flying with me and he was waiting, next thing I know, he's running over saying the same thing. I was totally out of it, completely forgot I was at the airport, it was very humorous. Normally, I would be nervous, etc, etc, but, I was literally so tired I completely passed out while TSA was searching my bags. Notice to anyone going through MEM, the TSA chairs are very comfortable, I guess I would recommend getting rid of them and using something like a stool, etc. A few other passengers we're laughing when I finally came to, I looked like a complete idiot since I had know clue where I was when I woke up. Thats the only time I've been flagged in the past 2-3 years. I used to get flagged all the time, but for whatever reason, they don't flag me anymore, I don't know why. We'll I also put on a few pounds since then, maybe thats it.

In synopsis of my rambling post, I just want to say that the shoe thing has to go. First off, it's a miracle Richard didn't blow off his feet walking down the terminal! That stuff is highly potent (smell) and highly unstable. I know because I had an explosive crazy chemistry teacher in eighth grade. He was a great guy, great teacher, but, he loved to blow things up. The one thing I remember is that the stuff is very volatile and unstable. Come on guys, lets get the shoe thing fixed, and someone, anyone, please invent a way to scan for nitrates. As far as liquids, thats a definite no-no. No liquids at all in my opinion. Literally, a few 4 ounce bottles is all one would need to blow out a window. In my opinion, we need to totally do away with on flight liquids. I know the TSA has made some concessions to allow passengers to carry small amounts, etc, but, the bottom line is that we need to do away with all liquids. But, let us keep our shoes on, please. After I fly, I pitch my socks, and replace my insoles. I'm not kidding. After my fungus experience, I'm done with the shoe thing.

One more thing, All in all, I've had pleasant experiences with TSA officers, just remember, they are professionals who are just doing their job, treat them with respect and they will treat you with respect. Be friendly, smile, just as you would be to a co-worker. If you are unsure of something, nicely ask questions. They deal with jerks all day long, so be nice. In my experiences, even when I've had a TSA worker bark at me, I respond with a smile, and in every case, they've been nice in return.

Also, if you fly, make security easy, wear as little metal as possible when flying. Try to remember to put your cellphone in a bin (I always forget that).

I fly so much now, that I consider myself to be a professional at getting through security. It's like riding a bike, once you get it down, you'll fly through everytime.

Also, when they ask you questions, don't give snyde remarks. Especially when they confiscate something. Just hand it over, and tell them to keep it, and smile. Permagrin the whole way through.

-I love America

Anonymous said...

Hi, glad to see there is a place for us travelers to offer suggestions.

Joan, I'm so sorry. This is where suggestions come to die.

Anonymous said...

Ok look, this is what it comes down to. We are doing our jobs.I don't get to decide what the rules are, I just have to enforce them. Do you know what a terrorist looks like?? Because I dont. Desperate times come to desperate measures. I'm sure that if it came down to it terrorists woulnd't think twice about packin some C4 into a childs wheelchair, or usisng the elderly to sneek something in. That is why EVERYONE gets screened the same. So fight it all you want, but its not going to change.

Anonymous said...

I don't know that I agree that x-raying shoes will actually locate any hazardous substances. For one thing, I could very easily re-mold the soles of my shoes entirely out of some explosive substance, and there'd be no way that you would see a density difference such as you claim.

However, having said that, my real gripe is that I have an issue with my back, and it is uncomfortable for me to remove my shoes while standing in line.

Please allow me (and others with physical challenges) thru the metal detector, and then have a SEAT so that you can wand (or xray) my shoes. I'll gladly show up an extra 60 seconds earlier to compensate.

There are also too many airports where there is no seating within a reasonable distance of the security checkpoint. I can usually manage to get my shoes off, (even though it's painful), but I need that chair to get them back on.

Claude said...

I travel in and out of the country every month, and don't believe that the personnel that I have met at the "security" checkpoints are capable of seeing anything in a shoe thru x-rays but the shoe. I like many posters on this site would love to know exactly how many verifiable threats have been stopped by x-raying shoes since Reid tried to set his shoe on fire in a plane (lets not forget he was not successful). While you the TSA says it is not about Reid, ask a TSA agent in any airport about why we have to take our shoes off and you will get the answer due to "REID". This has never been an effective method for deterring or stopping terrorism (the catch word that justifies all infringements of constitutional rights).

So lets have the TSA actually answer any of the questions that have been presented on this site, I have seen many many questions and have yet found a reasonable answer to any of them.

Anonymous said...

As a EOD (Bomb Disposal) Technicion who has flown millions of miles in support of Heads Of State. Having trained thousands of US Army EOD students on how to work with explosives and IEDs. I still think that having everyone remove clothing to prevent a bomb from being carried on to an aircraft is an extremely naive and antiquated way of thinking. Like many of TSA procedures, it is easier/cheaper to train your "agents" to inconvence millions of people everyday then it is to provide proper equipment and training. Detection equipment that can be mounted in the floor/baseboards and personnel trained to spot people who fit within a certain profile is more efficent and professional. I have asked many "agents" why we have to take our shoes off and they have all simply said because it is a rule. It tells me that you are training robots and not professionals.

Anonymous said...

I flew once from Dallas to Phoenix, and was asked to remove my shoes. This was shortly after the original "Shoe Bomber" incident. Ironically, the airport security scanned my feet - not my shoes. They had me place them to one side, scanned my feet, and told me I could put my shoes back on. Hmm...

FedUp said...

I saw make the TSA employees work in their barefeet. You all can talk the talk so walk the walk. I'm sure none of the TSA employees would be willing to subject themselves to the dirty floor. What makes you think passengers do?

Anonymous said...

In reading responses to the shoes from TSA/TSO workers, and in other areas of the blog, the examples that are being touted as how their procedures are working, aren't showing how they are beating terrorism. 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 instead of trying to falsely get us to believe they are keeping us safe, especially by my taking off my flip flops.

Anonymous said...

As for the policy that we all remove our shoes, I'm thankful that the man with the shoe bomb didn't hide it in his pants. We would all be going through security pantsless.

Anonymous said...

The TSA has destroyed several pairs of my women's shoes. I put them in boxes and they take them out. You may say, "Well, tell them not to." I have done this and they still get taken out of the box by other people. The shoes get ruined because the get stuck and scraped in the rollers. This amounts to several hundred dollars. When I talk the the TSA manager they laugh at me and tell me to just tell the TSA workers not to remove them from the box. Why do they keep taking shoes out of the box? They should be reimbursing people for all the destroyed shoes.

Anonymous said...

Are bathroom germs from the bottom of shoes in the same bins that I put my coat, cell phone, and laptop? I believe the TSA is forcing a health risk upon us each time we fly.

Anonymous said...

I understand the policy of having one's shoes screened and am all for it; however, a situation I had concerning shoe screening caused me to question the process.

About 5 years ago, I was commencing my return flight which was to go from Denver to Pittsburgh. During the security process, I was flagged for further screening (random?) and had to remove my shoes (this was prior to today's requirement)...fine. I was a bit concerned what was going on because these were the same shoes I wore through security at Pittsburgh's airport just days before.

Regardless, the TSA waved my shoes with the portable wand and it beeped. The TSA said that he'd need to take the shoes to the back room for further processing and was asked to wait there in the passenger screening area. Fine, I'm not going anywhere --- I have no shoes.

After 10 minutes of sitting there with no shoes, I began to go in search of the TSA who took dice. I asked the other TSA who worked the lane I just went through and she said she didn't know anything because it was a new crew that just started the shift.

I began prancing up and down the security stations in my socks to see if I could find my shoes or to see if anyone might know --- I asked quite a few TSAs what I can do --- no answer. Meanwhile, this is of course all on film --- do you think that anyone would approach me to ask me what was going on? No. One of the TSAs was nice enough to point me to a security desk.

About 20 minutes after my shoes were taken, I finally got to the front of the line at security. To prove a point, I swung my leg up as high as it would go and put my sock on the high counter of the desk. Standing there in an awkward pose with one leg chest-high, I asked what they did with my shoes. I had to speak to the management, who was asking specifics about the person who took them, etc. (like I'd know) Anyway, it took them at least another 10-15 minutes to locate my shoes --- long enough for me to miss my flight. It was almost 45 minutes wasted over this idiotic issue.

The TSAs called ahead to the gate, but the boarding was already done...I'd have to take another flight. So, basically, my luggage went through Detroit en route to Pittburgh, but I went through Minneapolis on a different NorthWest flight. I had to go to the baggage claim area in Pittsburgh to get my luggage when I landed and explain the situation of why I wasn't on the same flight as my bag. Of course, the bag was screened in Pittsburgh because it was left unattended until I could get it when I landed on the other flight.

Apparently, during the few minutes when the TSA took my shoes for further processing, his shift ended and he punched out, leaving the shoes unattended and unprocessed. This was a situation that was completely avoidable...all because someone wanted to leave his/her job at the stroke of the clock when the shift was up without finding someone else to complete the job.

Fortunately, the process has improved.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone that it is a big waste of time to have to take your shoes off but it doesn't look that is going to change any time soon. It would be great if they would in fact put some chairs and benches behind the screeners so that we can put our shoes back on, I for one have arthritis in both hips and just had back surgery a year ago, bending over to put my shoes back on is impossible and I can sit on the floor. A little common sense would tell you that if you are going to have hundreds of people a day take of their shoes you need someplace for them to sit to put them back on.

Anonymous said...

For sure this paranoia with security obsession need to taper off to a sensible level.I travel much less then I wish to because of it.According to TSA a 5" wrench is OK to be carried on board but this forgotten tool hidden in the crease of my small back pack from a sea kayaking trip was confiscated @ Sitka airport after flying with it from ANC.The reasoning was
"I could unscrew the bolts in the bathroom and have access to the cokpit". Granted all TSA staff cannot be aware of the multiple planes configurations but the irony of this story was that the only toilets were in the rear of the plane.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that right before you enter the checkpoint there are machines there that all passengers can get booties to wear on their feet when they remove the shoes, if you are concerned about fungus and bacteria I would suggest you utilize the booties.

Anonymous said...

I thionk you need to rotate your people from job to job more often. I think they get blind to what is happening by watching for just one important thing at a time. I watched a gal go through with her shoes on because she had carried a second pair in her hands. She put them in the basket and went on through. "If you put shoes in the basket they aren't on your feet" is the flaw in the system.

Anonymous said...

Taking of shoes is gross. Some men have the nastiest athletes foot and I neither want to see it or smell it. Further, I don't want my purse in the same bins nasty shoes are in either. In the winter time, my feet have gotten wet in these lines, through my socks. Athlete's foot can be transferred if the floor is wet. I understand the danger, but this shoe thing is really difficult. I like icudoc's suggestions. That might make it more helpful, but also, it needs to be more sanitary. I think the germ thing is a real concern. Some of us do have pristine, pedicured feet with pretty polished toes and do not want those anywhere near other people's plantars warts and athlete's foot. I read somewhere else about surgical slippers...that might help.

Anonymous said...

Requiring everyone to remove their shoes for extra screening is a big hassle, annoyance and time-waster. Finding a single altered shoe in Alaska doesn't make the benefits outweigh the costs.

Until you change the policy, at least provide areas for people to sit down to put their shoes back on after going through the metal detector.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know why is America the only place we have to take the shoes off? Wasn't it a European airport that Richard Reid got on a plane and tried to blow up the plane? Seems that since this happened overseas and the TSA is global, the same rules should apply over there as well as in the states. But to quote a TSA officer when I questioned her about it upon entering the US, "only in America we ask for the obtrude demands."

Anonymous said...

I just want to say to all the people that complain about TSA and the job us TSA employees are is for your own saftey, and is hurtful at some point because we are very much underpaid for the job we are doing, as a TSA employee I take my job very serious and have come across many ungreatful people on a daily basis, but to those of you out there who do appreciate the job we do, I just want to thank you, because when you show appreciation, and personally thank us for doing our job, and dont make a big deal about taking off your shoes, it makes all of a better day for us and makes us feel good and proud of what we do..again, after all it is for your safety!!

Anonymous said...

All I have to say is:
Have you forgotten?

Possibly a couple of reminders are in order:

Anonymous said...

So Richard Reid tried to set a shoe bomb on fire on a plane. Now everyone has to take their shoes off. However, we are still allowed matches and lighters aboard. Why not limit the source of fire instead of submitting us all to this misery?

And please don't send smoker complaints - buy a patch, or buy matches when you get there! Better still, quit!

Anonymous said...

As a simple Eathling living in 2008I understand the need for airport security and would never be so foolish to believe we can go back to pre 9-11 days. As an occasional traveler I've seen general acceptance of the need and have seen the both the TSA and public reach an level of accomodation for each other. What I have not been able to grasp is this fanatical need for us to take our shoes off. Getting them off is not to big a deal...but come on- give us the space to put htem back on. Hopping around on one foot while trying to hold on to a boarding pass, carry-on and laptop is a real test for some of us. All you TSA gurus can try this at home tomorrow morning before heading to work.....let us know how you do. In the mean about giving us some place to sit our middle age, overweight, out-of-shape selves down and make this a little easier and less invasive.

Anonymous said...

Here is the thing about the shoes: I have come to expect it, I have started wearing shoes that come on and off easily and I guess if you guys (TSA) really think it's worth the effort, time and money - then be it.
I only have one question: was it really necessary to have me remove my 4 months old daughter's infant slippers, when I was screened at SEATAC a few weeks ago?

Anonymous said...

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.

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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?

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

sewerratt007 said...

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!

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...


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!

Anonymous said...

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?

Anonymous said...

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.

Snuggle Comfort said...

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?

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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

Jim Huggins said...

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?

Anonymous said...

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?

Steve Madden said...

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 !



Anonymous said...

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.

branded shoes said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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.

Tim said...

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

Anonymous said...

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...

Anonymous said...

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.

London Forum said...

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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