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Homeland Security May Soon Lift Shoe Removal Requirements During Airport Screening

Pilot Program To Begin In Miami, Dallas And Atlanta; LaGuardia Travelers Torn
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A passenger removes their shoes before passing through the passenger security checkpoint at John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 8 on Oct. 22, 2010. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In our post-9/11 world we’ve become accustomed to many a security rules and regulations, including taking our shoes off at airport screening checkpoints.

But a change is underfoot.

CBS 2’s John Metaxas reports the no-shoe rule may be grounded.

Taking off your shoes for airport security has been the bane of air travelers’ existence for almost a decade.

“I hate taking my shoes off. You never know if they clean that floor. It’s gross,” a traveler at LaGuardia Airport told Metaxas on Tuesday.

“Slippers, I actually will wear slippers to the airport,” another person said.

But help may be on the way.

Deciding what shoes to wear to the airport may soon be a whole lot easier. Homeland Security says it may soon lift the requirements that you take your shoes off at security check-in.

The bombshell announcement came from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Tuesday. It was quickly followed by this from the Transportation Security Administration:

“The proof of concept in three airports starting next month is really three things: one is dedicated land for them so you don’t stand in the regular lane. Two, you get to keep your shoes on, and then, three, you get to keep your laptop in your briefcase,” TSA Administrator John Pistole said.

However, Napolitano did say dropping the ban on liquids on flight might be a lot harder to accomplish.

The reaction at LaGuardia on Tuesday was mixed.

“Well we’ll have to see. Technology is not always the solution,” one person said.

“I think that’s great. Make life a lot easier for most people — quicker check in,” another person said.

But one security expert said technology is not the solution.

“Every passenger has to be interviewed by qualified and well-trained security people,” aviation security consultant Isaac Yeffet said.

Napolitano would not say what exactly it is that would allow travelers to keep their shoes on at the airport, but research is going on all the time, and regarding shoes it’s progressing.

The pilot program will begin for frequent flyers at Miami International, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta.

Do you think this is a good idea? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

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