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Answers (11)

TSA-compliant locks

TSA-compliant locks

  1. Anonymous

    Hi, all,
    This question may be a little mundane for this group, but I’m interested in the experience of folks who travel a lot.
    Have others had problems recently with the TSA (in the US) either cutting off, or failing to put back on, TSA-compliant locks on checked baggage? It’s now happened to us on the last four trips when we’ve checked luggage. (It used to happen occasionally, but now it seems to happen all the time.) Sometimes it’s with the only bag we check; other times it’s been one of the two. And, in all of these cases, there has not been any note from the TSA saying they had looked in the bag.
    These have been trips when we’ve needed too much to just put things in a carry-on bag.
    Thanks!
    –PS, in case it’s relevant, all of these trips have been on Southwest.

  2. David W

    Not recently, but a few years ago, TSA opened my bag that has a built in TSA lock. They forgot to lock it back, so now the lock cant be used.

  3. OCTinPHL

    [QUOTE=”David W, post: 65592, member: 29″]Not recently, but a few years ago, TSA opened my bag that has a built in TSA lock. They forgot to lock it back, so now the lock cant be used.[/QUOTE]

    Has anything been taken? If you haven’t had a note placed in your baggage I’d think airline employees.

  4. OCTinPHL

    The reality is that TSA-compliant locks are no better than any others. Meaning a determined thief in the bowels of an airport can snip it in seconds. I use my TSA-compliant locks (that came with my luggage) to lock it when I stow bags in the overheads on long haul flights.

  5. David W

    Nothing was taken and yes there was a TSA note. There were no issues with the contents of my bag. I’m not sure if I can ask TSA to lock it properly. It’s also a larger suitcase that I don’t normally travel with

  6. OCTinPHL

    I was asking OP…. But my understanding is that TSA compliant locks don’t need to be “unlocked”. Meaning TSA can open and close the locks, without the locking mechanism ever changing.

  7. David W

    TSA locks (keys or combination) have a separate key slot for a TSA key to lock/unlock. That part was unlocked and not locked, rendering the lock unable to be used. THe one I have is also built into the bag, so I now use a separate lock for the bag.

  8. Donna

    [USER=29]@David W[/USER] Although I rarely check bags any longer, back in 2016 I had similar problem with TSA unlocking my embedded TSA lock on a checked bag and the key lock remained 90 degrees misaligned with the red dot with no way to lock the bag. I inserted a small flat head screw driver into the key opening and twisted it back to align with the red dot, resetting it and everything was back to normal. I believe these locks when opened by TSA are supposed to spring back in the original position after they’re opened, to automatically re-lock but sometimes get stuck open.

    @KVH – I can’t understand having your bags consistently opened, locks removed and no notes left. Never happened to me or anyone I know in any US airport.

  9. David W

    Thanks [USER=1566]@Gia[/USER]! I’ll have to try that.

  10. OCTinPHL

    [QUOTE=”Gia, post: 65603, member: 1566″][USER=29]@David W[/USER] @KVH – I can’t understand having your bags consistently opened, locks removed and no notes left. Never happened to me or anyone I know in any US airport.[/QUOTE]

    Ditto. When I check bags domestically (<25% of the time) I have my bags opened (and get the note) more than 50% of the time.

  11. MidSouthSkier

    I have had that problem at my home airport, a smaller mid-sized one. As I live in the Mid-South and skis are somewhat uncommon here my skis bag gets opened almost every time I fly with them. After a number of trips where my lock was not put back on I actually complained to the airport and my email found its way to the head TSA guy. We had a couple of good email exchanges where he asked the approximate time I dropped off my luggage, reviewed his tapes and offered to pay for replacement locks. Now, the process for getting approved for reimbursement was kinda involved (get 3 price quotes, fill out this paperwork, etc.) and I never did follow up but he also said he’d review the processes with his folks again and I do think it’s gotten better.

    That being said, I also put a note in my luggage (full 8.5″ x 11″ paper) saying that I use TSA-compliant locks and I would appreciate it if the agent would have the courtesy to please relock my luggage once they’re done. I think this has been very helpful too as I can only recall one time in the last several years where my lock has not been reattached.

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