Shoe-bomb warning may slow travelers

Author: Tim Pulliam, General assignment reporter, tpulliam@wjxt.com
Published On: Feb 20 2014 04:01:50 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 20 2014 07:57:03 PM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

There is no specific threat, but the Department of Homeland Security is warning airlines to pay close attention to the possibility of terrorists hiding explosives in their shoes.

The Department of Homeland Security has not announced any changes at the security checkpoints. Everything is still the same, but travelers could see me slower lines as a result of more searches and screenings at major airport hubs.

"I want to be safe," traveler Marla Banks said.

The Texas native and frequent business traveler said she's usually able to get through the Transportation Security Administration's pre-check line without removing any personal items, but that was not the case this week.

"I didn't know about this," Banks said. "I had to take my shoes off yesterday in Atlanta. I wasn't told why. I did tell them I have TSA clearance, but they said, 'Yeah, that has been scaled back at this time. So I took my shoes off."

It's a heightened caution with no real threat, according to intelligence officials. Since 9/11, airlines have been a target for terrorists.

Just weeks after an attack on a flight from Paris to Miami, Richard Reid was caught attempting to set off a shoe bomb.

Frequent travelers said the potential threat means having more patience going through security.

"No big deal. I'm not worried about it at all," said traveler Todd Bell, who was flying from Jacksonville to Pennsylvania.

"You stress about the things that you control, and this is one thing that you cannot," frequent flyer Christine Kizziah said.

In a statement, the Department of Homeland Security said this about its alert to airliners to be watchful:

"Our security apparatus includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, informed by the latest intelligence and as always DHS continue to adjust security measures to fit an ever evolving threat environment."