What Kind Of Baggage Locks Are Okay To Put On Luggage?

What kind of baggage locks are okay to put on luggage? The Transportation Security Authority (TSA) doesn't actually prohibit the locking of baggage, but it does recommend that you don't lock your checked baggage as it will probably have to be opened and inspected.

The Transportation Security Authority (TSA) doesn't actually prohibit the locking of baggage, but it does recommend that you don't lock your checked baggage as it will probably have to be opened and inspected. If you are in the habit of keeping your luggage locked while traveling, try to get into the habit of keeping it unlocked while at the airport. Keep in mind that all your valuable and important items and travel documents ideally should be in your carry on bag anyway.


If you do lock your bags, the TSA requests that you use only approved types of locks, those which are manufactured by Travelsentry and Safe Skies. These two companies only have an arrangement with the TSA whereby TSA staff has the means to lock and unlock these particular locks without damaging the bag or the lock. Some travelers put a secure plastic tamper-proof seal on their case, inform the security staff they may break the seal if necessary and then replace the seal.




TSA staff do have keys to various other types of lock, but you may find that TSA staff force open the lock or request you to unlock it yourself, thus wasting valuable time at check in. They are actually authorized to break a lock if they think it necessary - if this happens you have no recourse. If your locks are broken, the security staff will usually secure your luggage with a plastic locking strip.


Rather than worry about locking your luggage, you should concentrate on having it clearly labeled in case it is lost. Luggage labels on checked bags are mandatory and if you don't have one, you will be required to put one on when you check in. Make sure the label is secure and will not easily come off - a label inside a transparent pocket sewn on to the bag is more secure than one attached with a strap.

Tear off any old luggage tags placed there by airlines, so there is no doubt where your luggage is heading to, thereby reducing the chance of it getting lost. If you have a suitcase with someone else's name and address on, it may lead to delays at security. It is also a good idea to label the inside of your bags with your name and address and itinerary. Keep your bag tag claim stub in case your bags are missing or damaged.

You may lock your carry on bag, and you aren't required to have a label attached to the outside of it, although it's a good idea to do so. If you do lock your carry on bag, make sure you keep it unlocked when checking in and passing through security. Keep a spare key about your person.

As for your laptop computer, if you travel with one - the same rules apply for keeping the case unlocked, in case of inspection. Make sure you can easily remove your laptop battery and turn the laptop on, if requested. And you should never check your laptop anyway in case of possible theft or a delay in your baggage arriving.

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