TSA tries letting older fliers keep shoes on at airports

WASHINGTON – Airline passengers who are at least 75 years old will be able to keep their shoes and light jackets on at security checkpoints at four airports starting Monday, the Transportation Security Administration said Wednesday. By Nam Y. Huh, AP Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, pictured here, will be one of the places where the TSA will try letting older passengers keep their shoes on. Enlarge By Nam Y. Huh, AP Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, pictured here, will be one of the places where the TSA will try letting older passengers keep their shoes on. Ads by Google Low Cost Travel Insurance Save 50% off travel agents prices ! Buy, extend and claim online, 24/7 www.worldnomads.com Philippines Flights Promo Fly to Manila and Get Free Ticket to Any Destination within PH! www.PhilippineAirlines.com/PH Find The Car You Want Find A Car In Your Area. View New & Used Local Listings Now! AutoTrader.com The changes are similar to those adopted in September for children up to 12 and will reduce — but not eliminate — pat-downs for the elderly. The test will begin at Chicago’s O’Hare, Denver, Orlando and Portland, Ore., airports. If an alarm sounds, elderly passengers may be asked to remove their shoes. A full-body scan is an option for all passengers who can stand still for five seconds. Elderly passengers will be allowed a second chance if a full-body scanner spots anything suspicious. The changes are part of TSA Administrator John Pistole’s strategy for focusing more attention on potentially riskier passengers. The agency eased screening for children, for frequent fliers at specific airports who voluntarily give background information under the Pre-check program and for pilots in uniform at certain airports. STORY: TSA admits errors in searches of elderly STORY: Loot confiscated by TSA turns into revenue for states “These changes will allow officers to better focus their efforts on passengers who may be more likely to pose a risk to transportation, while expediting the screening process,” says Joseph Terrell, TSA’s security director in Orlando. The changes follow a controversy in November when two women in their 80s complained that they were essentially strip-searched at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. One had to remove a back brace to undergo an X-ray scan, and the other lowered her sweat pants so screeners could examine her colostomy bag. TSA officials have denied asking anyone to remove their clothes. Betsy Markey, an assistant secretary at the TSA, apologized in a January letter that said security officers would receive refresher training on how to respectfully screen passengers with disabilities or medical conditions. “TSA sincerely regrets any discomfort or inconveniences the passengers at JFK experienced,” she wrote. Pistole said in a National Press Club speech March 5 that “we don’t get it right every time” while screening about 1.8 million people a day. The agency created a hotline in December called TSA Cares (855-787-2227) for the elderly or people with medical conditions to help plan for screening “while respecting their privacy.” For more information about reprints & permissions, visit our FAQ’s. To report

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