Friday, December 10, 2004

TSA -- New security profile on shoes

Looks like I'm not alone with the shoe thing I blogged about earlier:

When we were flying back from Maui to LA, the screener asked me to take off my tennis shoes. I asked why, and he said “because they fit the profile”; when I asked what the profile was, he responded “shoes like those.”

I went ahead and took them off and put them through the machine even though just five days earlier no one at LAX had asked me to take them off. On the other side of the screening device, I asked a different screener why I had needed to take off my shoes. She said they fit the profile of a heel taller than 1” (which they didn’t). I mentioned I had not been asked to take them off at LAX and her response was that LAX should have made me take them off. I told her that I thought the most recent TSA directive on shoes was that passengers got to decide whether to take them off or not, and she told me I was wrong. She mentioned that I could refuse to take off my shoes if I wanted, but then I would be automatically sent to the special frisking area where they would make me take them off anyway.
And Bob and I aren't the only people who have noticed this. Even the press has noticed the trend.

Hmm... here's what the TSA website says:
You are NOT REQUIRED to remove your shoes before you enter the walk-through metal detector. However, TSA screeners encourage you to remove them because many types of footwear – including boots, platform shoes, and footwear containing metal or having a thick sole or heel – will require additional screening even if the metal detector DOES NOT alarm.
When I fly to Cleveland on Monday, I'm gonna wear my biggest, badest platform shoes, looking like a disco king walking through the airport, and see what happens.

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