The measure stems from the new risked-based security initiatives the TSA is incorporating to “improve the passenger experience at security check-points.” Tell that to a kid getting patted down during the hormonally charged early stages of puberty.
The “great news” is filled with a couple caveats even though your kid may be able to keep his sneakers on.
Let’s be clear. This will not eliminate the need for all pat-downs on children, and there will still be times that shoes might have to come off.
That’s a big if, and the TSA officer’s subjective judgement isn’t limited to footwear.
Also, our officers will use their best discretion based on how old the child appears. They’ll be courteous though, and keep their guesstimates about the parent’s age to themselves.
If you’re a big-boned 11 year-old, you’re probably gonna have to take your shoes off, but don’t worry parents, they’ll refrain from cracking wise about your crow’s feet. The TSA adds the largest BUT at the end.
Please understand that this isn’t a free pass. TSA will always incorporate random and unpredictable security measures and nobody is guaranteed expedited screening.
TSA officers still have carte blanche to do whatever they want to whomever they want regardless of age, sex, dress, ethnicity or any other factor agents use to profile potential terrorists. But hey, at least kids can keep their kicks on when they’re strip-searched. Progress!