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Three Reasons Why Shoe Scanners Are the Stupidest Airport Security Idea Ever

March 3, 2010 at 2:11 PM | by | ()

It's an idea that's been batted around by the TSA and airport security for at least five years now: Why don't airports get shoe scanners to eliminate passengers having to take off their shoes at security? And in those five years, despite brief testing periods at airports like LAX and TLV, not one airport has stepped up to buy a slew of the machines and make shoe scanning mandatory. Why? Because it won't make a difference in the long run. And here's why:

· It's something full-body scanners should take care of

The words on everyone's lips these days, post-Christmas crotch bomber, are "Full-Body Scanning," and thus we're not surprised that the argument for separate shoe scanners is back. But if a full-body scanner is doing its job of scanning your full body, why would we need shoe scanners? Well, if you look at one of the machines, you'll see that the scanning doesn't go down to the floor. Perhaps they should just add a special attachment that does, so that airports aren't spending millions more dollars buying new machines and making space for those.

· Waiting in line for another machine is not going to make airport security faster

Back when we were a member of the now-defunct expedited airport security service Clear, we used to step into a machine that quickly checked our fingerprints and—if we remember correctly—scanned our shoes, because it looked like the machine below. And you know what? Even though we had our own empty Clear security lane, doing that whole quick bit actually took made us move slower than the regular security lines next to us. Now magnify this situation by hundreds of passengers at rush hour, and by more than just our one lonely lane. We're still talking extra wait time, and we'd like some proof that a shoe scanner takes significantly less time than just whipping off our shoes at the scanner to justify rolling out shoe scanners around the country or world.

· The taking-off-shoes at security issue is overblown

Some passengers may wear hiking boots with intricate lacing jobs, but that's not the problem of the entire network of airports. The majority of travelers are not going to take more than 20 seconds to remove their shoes and put them through the scanner. Maybe we should just wear this shoe on our next flight. Or perhaps it'd just be easier to ban wearing complicated shoes at airports? It'd surely be a cheaper and faster way out, and just as boneheaded. We'll continue to keep our ears open on this topic however, because we wouldn't be surprised if that was the next announcement.

Related Stories:
· TSA Hopes Scanners Can Let You Keep Your Shoes On [Today in the Sky]
· TSA Looks to Upgrade Shoe Security Procedures [MSNBC from 5 years ago!]
· The Complete Guide to Full-Body Scanning [Jaunted]
· Airport Security [Jaunted]

[Photo: Doodlier]

Archived Comments:

Stupid? Yes. Stupidest? Probably not.

Stupidest...as of yet? maybe. Kinda reminds me of this thing...