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Napolitano’s Plan to Loosen Airport Security Measures is a Shoe-In

TSA gets almost exclusively bad reactions when it introduces a new policy. See: the TSA worker who stole a watch, the accusation that the agency “harassed” and “humiliated” a woman, the $30 million it wasted on unproven technology, and don’t forget those wonderful pat-downs.

But here’s a plan that might have some people looking forward to their trip through the metal detector. At a breakfast event Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that passengers could expect to see the shoes-off requirement being phased out sometime in the near future, though she declined to give a timetable.

Finally, positive airport security news! Personally, I was thrilled. I dress strategically when I fly. You’ll never find me wearing any shoes with laces, buckles or straps that must be manipulated – it’s flats or flip-flops when flying. And this is because messing with straps and buckles doesn’t just make my life harder when I’m already holding my jacket, suitcase, purse and boarding pass, but it also ties up the light-packing travelers behind me in the queue.

Sadly, Napolitano said that the department has no plans to roll back the liquid restrictions. The technology to differentiate explosive liquids from harmless fluids has not been fully developed yet, so there are no immediate prospects for that.

In the world of hypotheticals where you can make exchanges such as this, I’ve been musing the question of whether I’d rather be able to take my full-size tube of toothpaste with me. I am stuck – it’s the convenience of leaving my shoes on versus the money I’d save on all those stupid travel-size toiletries. Which would you choose?

Posted by Laura Williams on Sep 09, 2011


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