Wednesday, June 01, 2005


In October 2003, the TSA stopped requiring passengers to remove their shoes before going through airport security checkpoint metal detectors.

In June 2005, the TSA security agents at San Jose continue to force passengers to remove their shoes. This, despite the fact that the looped video playing on the TV monitors over the security lines clearly state that this is not required. I've been through countless airports around the US and internationally in the last couple of years, and it's only San Jose whose agents continue to enforce this rule.

I have a special pair of shoes that I use for air travel. Taking them off to satisfy an overly officious agent serves only one purpose - to add another minute to the waiting time of the impatient passengers behind me in the line. Yet with the exception of one single agent, whom of course I rarely encounter, the folks at San Jose insist that I remove my shoes. Their explanations have ranged from the amusing "only people under 18 don't have to remove their shoes" to the downright contrarian "it is a requirement that everyone removes their shoes."

If someone could explain why San Jose is so special, please let me know. Unfortunately, I seriously doubt that the TSA reads this blog (actually, I don't think anybody does).

The sad thing is - if San Jose is actually doing it right (which the TSA's own website clearly indicates is not the case), then every single other airport I have been to is doing it completely wrong. Either way, there's a problem in the system.


Anonymous said...

Indianapolis does it too, it did all through 2004 and still does... at least for me, but then I am a student, South Asian, male, about 23... so I am always checked more -:)

Anonymous said...

I have been to detroit, boston and la guardia in the last month. They all require you to take off your shoes.

Fourth Umpire said...

Interesting. Maybe it's just my luck. In recent months I've been through SFO, SJC, BUR, LAS, JFK, ATL, DFW, ORD, LHR, FRA and DXB, and it's only SJC that has made me remove my shoes. That said, this Thursday (June 9th) I was able to walk straight through, shoes and all.

Anonymous said...

No ... not your luck. In addition to Boston, LGA etc, I had to remove my shoes in SFO (counterexample to your SFO experience). ZRH, FRA, MPX have been okay in the past as long as I flew within Europe. Any flight into US and the shoes come off.

The Greatest Hokie Ever !! said...

Dont' you worry, 4th Umpire. I travel loads (Monday through Friday) for work and at every airport I have had to take off my shoes. I am also 25/M/Indian, perfect fit for everyone's profile !

However, I always travel in flip-flops or sandals. Easier to remove them.

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Lizy said...

Very nice blog..i too have come across as take off my shoes..dunno why they ask us to do so..any safety mesaures?