Nightly News | August 26, 2012
>>> frequent flyers know the routine by heart. belts off, laptops out, liquids in a beingy, and oh yes, don't forget to remove your shoes. that last one is a by-product of an actual show bombing attempt. that last one is bothersome to passengers and one the government thought with new technology they could do away with. that technology has turned out to be a giant disappointment.
>> reporter: it is consistent lit chief complaint among travelers passing through tsa checkpoints, shoes must come off.
>> i think going through security, taking your shoes off is disgusting.
>> there's a lot of germs. people have foot fungus.
>> it's part of security. i'd rather be secure.
>> it's like taking shoes off, that's awful.
>> reporter: the tsa has heard the complaints and tried to respond, no long rer senior citizens or kids 12 and under required to take their shoes off, and anyone who signs up for tsa precheck can keep their coat, their belt, and their sho shoes on. the homeland security secretary said within the last year she was hopeful that new screening technology would soon arrive.
>> as the software becomes better and better , we hope that we will be able to make it easier for travelers. you won't have to take off so much, your shoes and belt and everything as you go through the machine.
>> reporter: the tsa says that could be many years ahead. the new scanning equipment the agency has been testing hasn't proven cost-effective oreliable. in a statement the agency says it will continue to, quote, seek viable technology that would allow all passengers to keep shoes on at airport checkpoints in the future without compromises safety. the tsa began requiring shoe removal after learning al qaeda was focused on putting explosives in street shoes several years after richard reid tried to light explosives in his shoes. yet, today most passengers on u.s.-bound flights from europe are not required to take off shoes. still, domestic passengers are. the foremaner tsa chief says the threat posed by shoe bomb remains too real to stop the practice.
>> you do owe it to the public when you ask them to do something hard, to pull it out as soon as you come up with a better way.
>> reporter: unfortunately at the moment there may be no better way. tom costello, nbc news, washington.