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Letters: TSA's role in travelers wearing flip-flops to fly

June 10, 2012

Regarding "Shoo, Flip-Flops," [Letters June 2]: I have definitely noticed a surge in passengers wearing flip-flops ever since the Transportation Security Administration started requiring people to remove their shoes during preflight screening. Perhaps they are rebelling against this cumbersome procedure, which is rumored to end when new policies go into effect. What Michael Ludmer failed to mention is important: In the event of an in-flight emergency, the last thing a passenger should be wearing is flimsy plastic sandals — highly inappropriate for a quick exit. For now, we are apparently stuck with the sight of cheap footwear more suitable for the beach.

Kyle Kimbrell

Playa del Rey

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It's too bad Ludmer's aesthetic sense is offended by flip-flops on airplanes. But why is he blaming the passengers? The TSA is the culprit here. Travelers are required to remove their shoes, and flip-flops are easy to get off and on. Stop to fuss with shoes and socks, and you'll lose track of your other items, not to mention getting baleful stares from the people in line behind you. If Ludner doesn't want to look at bare feet, he should lobby the TSA for better screening devices.

Bonnie Sloane

Los Angeles

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No flip-flops on airplanes? Flip-flops are shoes (ask any restaurant) and are easy to remove for security inspection. I, a 67-year-old woman, live in flip-flops, have regular pedicures, no blisters or abscesses, no boils or bunions. I'd rather sit next to a person in flip-flops with aired-out feet than someone who removes his stinky Reeboks to reveal dirty, sweaty socks with holes in them. What's next, Mr. Ludmer, no sandals?

Michele Burgess

Huntington Beach

Views of London

Having recently returned from a family trip to England, I was excited to read the front-page article by Catharine Hamm about London's less obvious side ["One 'L' of a Town," May 27]. Although parts of the story were interesting and insightful, some of the commentary was downright wrong-headed.

First, she states that Camden is "reminiscent of the Orange County swap meet but with more global food and less charm." Camden happens to be one of the most vibrant areas of London, teeming with markets, music, young people and good food. Although it may not have a posh, high street type of charm, comparing Camden to the Orange County swap meet (which is no more than a bunch of vendors in a giant parking lot) is offensive to any Londoner. There is really nothing like Camden in California. Melrose Avenue and the Haight can only dream of having the energy of Camden.

Second, Hamm seems to despise the very city about which she is reporting. How else could one explain her statement that "[j]ust about anything" is "more romantic than dinner in London." I appreciate the fact that she was trying to inform people about the transportation options between London and the Continent, and that a quick getaway is a staple of modern travel writing, but there's certainly no need to denigrate one of the world's best food cities in order to do so. London is filled with some of the best restaurants and chefs on the planet. From traditional pubs to dishes that even the snootiest Angelenos could appreciate, London has it all. If Hamm really wanted to extol the virtues of a dining spot away from London, there are scores of beautiful country villages and seaside towns a short train ride from London. Great meals can be had in England without the need for a $100 train trip.

Chris Cruz
Irvine

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I just returned from a trip in England, during which I visited London, Oxford, Cambridge, Bath and Bristol. I want to share an amusing anecdote, as a cautionary tale to myself and other travelers.

As a rule, I resist the temptation to buy personal items when overseas, being wary of the difficulty involved in returning such a purchase. On this trip, however, I made an exception in Cambridge when I purchased a cardigan from a John Lewis store (http://www.johnlewis.com).

It wasn't until I had moved on to Bristol that I discovered, to my horror, that an anti-theft tag was left on the garment. Apparently the tag had escaped the attention of the check-out clerk, and I, the hapless tourist, failed to notice.

I had two days left in England, and there followed a frantic pursuit to resolve the problem. I received an email from John Lewis that the tag could be removed only at one of its stores. I returned to the U.S. with the cardigan and its tag.

I emailed them again after returning to the U.S., and a representative wrote back to ask for my postal address and other information. We will see what happens next. Sometimes little misadventures like this add spice to the fun of traveling, but from now on I will always remember to check my purchases.

Mei-Ling L. Liu

Arroyo Grande, Calif.

A place in history

Jessica Gelt's "No Hustle, No Bustle" [May 20] on sleepy Arroyo Grande, Calif., omitted what I think must be the best part of this tiny historic village.

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