Friday, December 10, 2004


Functional Fashion Helps Some Through Airport Checkpoints.

From today's WaPo ("free" registration required; jacknapes):
In this era of tightened airport security, retailers are coming to the aid of the aggravated traveler, offering new products -- such as bras and shoes -- designed to get passengers through the checkpoints without the indignity of a pat-down.

Shoemakers Johnston & Murphy, Florsheim and Rockport sell dozens of styles without metal shanks in the soles and market them to frequent fliers. Florsheim identifies the styles with tags that look like passports labeled "airport friendly" inside the shoebox.

"We had requests, mainly from airline pilots, asking which shoes were airplane friendly," said Thomas W. Florsheim Jr., chief executive of Weyco Group Inc., the Milwaukee parent company of Florsheim. "It seemed like we were getting more inquiries from our people who sell our shoes."

Many passengers think it is worth the effort to find shoes and clothing that will help them avoid added scrutiny at the airport checkpoint. Travelers who set off the walk-through magnetometer are automatically pulled aside, and a screener waves a hand-held metal detector over their body. Then, the screener conducts a physical pat-down search to check for hidden explosives or other prohibited items. The pat-downs have become more common since September, when two Russian planes exploded after two women allegedly brought explosives on board.

Of course, Garfield Ridge solves this problem by always travelling in nothing but a mumu and flip-flops:

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