Lonely Planet Writer

76-Second Travel Show: 'Airport body scanners: Better than shoes?'

The USA is up in arms over the 385 revealing body scanners in place at 68 airports. Some groups, like this one, are rallying passengers to 'opt out' of the scans on November 24, the day before Thanksgiving, one of the busiest travel days here all year. The alternative, though, isn't making people happy either: intimate pat-downs. One guy in San Diego faces a $10,000 civil suit after saying he'd have a TSA agent arrested if they touch his 'junk.'

The options seem to be: 1. seen junk, or 2. touched junk.

Both seem less worrisome to me than the Great Shoe Project of US Airports, in which all of the 812 million annual air passengers are required to take on/off shoes at security checks due to a certain Richard Reid (no relation to me). Fond of labs, I timed taking on/off my laced shoes: a non-leisurely 0:36, sitting down. Using it as an average, it means 923 personal hours of effort to de-shoe, each year. More than the total man hours needed to build the Empire State Building.

What's worse for you: x-rated body scans, physical pat downs, or missing out on a new Empire State Building?