Leaving Oakland ...why do only US airports require you to take off your shoes? No European airports require you to remove your shoes. I guess we have Mr. Reid (the shoe bomber) to thank for this...just because he had a bomb in his shoes, we are still thinking this is how the terrorists will attack our country! Do you feel any safer because you have to march 100 feet through all domestic USA airports in your socks? I don't! I'll tell you the airport I feel safest in...MANCHESTER, ENGAND!! After you get your boarding pass, you must pass through a turnstile where you scan the barcode on your boarding pass, then pause before a turnstile and look at a small screen while an eyeball scan is done. After they have determined that your eyeball scan does not match a terrorist on file, the turnstile opens and lets you pass on to the hand luggage security area. As I put my purse, and carry on into the usual grey plastic tubs, the agent reminded me to take out my iPad, and any liquids. I pulled out a small bottle of liquid hand sanitizer from my purse and I proceeded forward. Once my body was scanned, I watched my tub come down the conveyer belt...suddenly it was scanned then a little door opened and my tub was sucked onto another conveyer belt. Behind a glass wall...I could see it, but I couldn't get to it. I waited in a line until my bag was pulled up front...then it was examined by hand( by a female agent who did not smile at all!) A second X-ray came first, followed by an unceremoniously upside dump of my purse. I was mortified when the agent pulled these items aside...(all of which had made it through airport security at 5 other airports).
That's a total of one hand lotion, one eyeglass cleaner, one more hand sanitizer (?!) and a whopping 7 lipsticks/lip glosses...and I swear, I usually only apply in the morning and then maybe once later in the day! What the hell were all those dangerous lipglosses doing in my humble purse?!?! Next came the special cloth attached to a long tong for a thorough swipe (remember my purse was empty now!) and then testing of the special cloth inside a small machine for explosive residue. Then my plethora of lip products were put in a plastic bag that was also tested for explosives! OMG!! Finally my purse and its contents were returned to me and we were allowed to continue through the aiport.
Second runner up in the airport security game was the Edinburgh airport where we saw guards strolling in pairs. This would not be an unusual sight except that they were armed with huge machine guns in their arms, and taser guns in their belt holsters. In all honesty, I was at first a bit horrified, but ultimately came to the decision that I DID feel safer in both these airports than if I had just had to remove my shoes! It is sad that we have to go through things like this, but if the world IS as dangerous as we are lead to believe, then let's really do everything to protect ourselves...be proactive...and don't just pretend that parading through airports in our socks will protects us from any bad guys.
(It did not help to read recently that in a recent test of TSA agents in U.S. Airports, 95% of them failed their task, letting suspicious material get through airport security in a "secret shopper/secret traveller" situation)
One final note...I will never travel with lipgloss in my purse again!!