The Department of Homeland Security, in a move that would be welcomed by long lines of beleaguered travelers, is considering letting most airline passengers go through airport security screening without removing their shoes or taking laptops out of their cases.
“We are looking at what we can do to minimize the amount of divestiture of passengers waiting in line so that it’s possible that most people can leave their shoes on,” DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano told the annual conference of the American Association of Exporters and Importers in New York Tuesday.
“Can we minimize the number of people who have to take their off their shoes and make it more by way of random instead of everybody?” she said. “Can we allow people not to have to put their laptop in a separate bin?” her comments drew loud applause from the audience.
She said the DHS thinks it can make these change in the coming year or two. “I’m not saying immediately.”
The change in security screening could come as part of an effort to create what the DHS secretary called a “trusted-traveler program”, similar to the C-TPAT program that expedites the passage of contairns through security at the nation’s ports. The trusted-traveler program would be usable domestically as well as internationally, she said.
Napolitano’s comments on airport screening came at the end of a luncheon keynote speech to AAEI in which she talked about the department’s efforts to expedite the passage of cargo through security and customs.
“I am confident that we must work with the private sector and across international boundaries so that in five to 10 years we hope we will be in a system where there are no documents to be filled out because everything will be electronic a seamless and there will be common questions asked across national boundaries so you don’t have to keep repeating the same thing over and over again,” she said.