Security Screening Make Believe

Taking off your shoes at the security checkpoint is now mandatory — as though it wasn’t before.

Okay, it varied by airport, with some incredulous TSA staffers asking passengers “WHAT are you doing taking off your shoes? You don’t have to do that!” (in the same tone one might ask, “have you soiled your underwear AGAIN?”)

But generally shoe removal was ‘recommended’ but optional — though if you chose not to, you received secondary screening that included taking off your shoes. Now you have to take them off in the first instance. And no more soiled comments from screeners.

The joke of it is that the x-ray machines you’re putting your shoes through can’t actually detect explosives.

So what’s the nonsense reason for taking off shoes? Consistency! Oh, and in case you’re concealing a James Bond-style (or is it Maxwell Smart?) gun in your 1/4 inch heel:

    TSA spokeswoman Yolanda Clark said putting shoes on the X-ray machines makes the screening process more efficient and eliminates confusion. “We do not have a specific threat regarding shoes,” Clark said. “In an abundance of caution we require all shoes to be removed and X-rayed to mitigate a variety of threats,” such as potential weapons.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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