By Keith Laing - 03/15/12 07:42 PM EDT
The Transportation Security Administration is reducing its security requirements for passengers over the age of 75, the agency announced this week.
The changes include allowing elderly passengers to keep their shoes on and allowing them to be re-scanned by X-ray in the event of issues instead of automatically patted down. They mirror changes TSA made last year for children under 12 after coming under fire for reports of patting down children as young as 8 months old.
The agency similarly has been criticized in recent months after elderly passengers at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport said they were essentially strip-searched, but the agency said the changes "could ultimately reduce — though not eliminate — pat-downs that would have otherwise been conducted to resolve anomalies."
TSA said it was comfortable making the switch because of the success of the rule changes it made last year for children.
The agency said it will test the changes for elder passers at Chicago's O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Denver International Airport (DEN), Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Portland International Airport (PDX).