Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Locks

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Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Locks

Postby Rett » Sun Jun 17, 2007 9:07 pm

Can anyone fill me on the scoop with these locks? They sound like a good idea and are no more pricey than other luggage locks. Is this just for travel in the states or is this an international thing?
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Postby roofie » Mon Jun 18, 2007 5:06 am

as they say: only in america.

you can't lock your bags when flying in the states anymore. if you travel with a non-TSA lock they'll just cut it off. these TSA-locks allow you to "lock" them. basically they allow for anyone with the master key to open them (even the code locks) and "inspect" the bags.

there are some locks that have an indicator showing whether or not the lock's been opened by the TSA.
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Postby steve » Mon Jun 18, 2007 12:37 pm

I purchased one a couple of years ago as I often transit via the US. When I flew to Buenos Aires via Dallas my bag was inspected ... there was a note in the bag saying it had been inspected by the TSA. The lock was properly secured so there was no way of knowing until I opened it up at the hotel.
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Postby Rob » Thu Jun 21, 2007 3:02 pm

They often cut the lock anyways, but your chances are much better with the TSA lock. The quality is the same as the regular locks and, like someone already mentioned, the one with the indicator ( http://www.jet-setter.ca/details.cfm?ProductCode=41027 ) is a good idea.

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Postby Tall Paul » Tue Jul 24, 2007 1:19 pm

Hey;

I used to fret about locks. Now I travel with GAP using a knapsack full of old, smelly clothes I won't care if lost or stolen. No valuables. No lock. No stress. No problem. All may valuables are carry on. This approach may not suit everyone, but it continues to amaze me people pack valuable things on these wonderful trips. Who are we trying to impress?

To heck with it. It is better to feel good than to look good on a GAP tour. 8)

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Postby lsamchuk » Tue Sep 04, 2007 11:18 pm

LOL - Paul, you have to allow that for some people looking good *is* feeling good. I'm not saying that's me, however I do feel more confident if I think I look "appropriate" for the situation. Comfy is most important though :)

I actually have a real question about locks - am I to understand that it's only when travelling to the US that you can't lock your luggage? It's been an extremely long time since I've flown anywhere besides the US and when I was told not to lock my luggage anymore I thought it was in general, not exclusive to the US.

Thanks!
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Postby Sierra_Travels » Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:28 am

You can lock your luggage in the US, definitely!

Here's the deal: with all the security changes, if security screening feels they want to inspect your luggage, and you do not have a "TSA-approved lock" (that is, one that the TSA can open with a master key) or are not standing there by the x-ray machine with your key in hand should they want to open your suitcase, they will cut off whatever lock you put on there.

Of course, if they cut off a lock, they do put a little heavy-duty plastic locking ring on it, but that's only quasi-effective, imho.

If they DO open your luggage they will, as somebody posted above, leave a note in the luggage stating they opened the luggage, blah blah. But I've had times when that notice has been right on top, and I've had times when that notice was buried in the bag. So when I was out shopping for new locks recently, I bought the variety that have an indicator on them.

I've heard mixed things about the quality of these locks, though, so I would say if you're traveling in the US, use whatever locks you already have, and just wait by the x-ray machine til they scan your luggage.
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Postby little_miss_sunshine » Wed Sep 05, 2007 2:35 pm

Sierra_Travels wrote:Of course, if they cut off a lock, they do put a little heavy-duty plastic locking ring on it, but that's only quasi-effective, imho.


I have to disagree - after having them open my bag twice (and in so doing, destroy my locks) they were not quite that considerate and barely closed the bags - Twice!! so both times on arrival I have discovered my luggage with the outside straps undone and hanging loose and the zippers about 3" open...

basically they don't care at all (why would they, they're totally unaccountable to anyone :twisted: ) so you should do what you can to ensure your bags will arrive how you want them to, from the sounds of it those TSA locks are a grand idea.

I on the other hand, have started to avoid travelling to the US entirely. Seems to be working so far!
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Postby lsamchuk » Thu Sep 06, 2007 3:27 pm

Thanks for the info. I am always afraid of seeing the contents of my luggage go by on the carousel sans suitcase. I have been lucky and never locked luggage and never had a problem - however I haven't travelled much either.

I re-read my question and realized that I didn't say I would be travelling from Canada to Costa Rica - so I won't be stopping in the US at all. Could regular locks still be a big risk as opposed to the TSA ones? Is security able to open the TSA locks in all countries or just the US/North America? Sorry for all the questions - I've just never heard of them before :?
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Postby Hadleycat » Thu Sep 06, 2007 5:18 pm

Are you sure that you don't have to change planes in the States? Everytime I have been to Central or South America I have had to do so. That is leaving from Toronto too.

I don't even bother locking my bags anymore. If anyone wants in they are going to get in despite the cheap travel locks. Really a they would have to do is slash the bag so why bother. That is also why we pay for insurance...... I travel a fair amount and have never had any problems.
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Postby lsamchuk » Thu Sep 06, 2007 6:57 pm

Yuppers! It's a direct flight. That's why I opted to get there a day early and leave a day later as this flight only seems to be available on Saturdays. And the hotel is cheap anyway.
The flights are Air Canada - AC998 (Oct 20) and AC999 (Nov 3).
Wow, I just looked and the flight is now almost double what I paid - you can't get the cheapest seats anymore - but the only difference I see is that you get a meal with the one that's $600 more. I don't know, maybe we don't get pillows :wink:
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Postby IncaTrail50 » Fri Sep 21, 2007 9:10 pm

We had those TSA locks on our luggage for our trip to the Inca Trail and our daughter's backpack lock was cut off somewhere either in Peru or in our transfer of planes in El Salvador on our return flight to Toronto. No note, just the cut off lock inside her bag (no idea why they enclosed it...she certainly couldn't use it anymore!). No plastic tag closing the bag either. But they were nice enough to close the bag securely so nothing was missing...no skivvies circling the airport baggage carousel :oops: ! Must have been checking for those prized coca leaves :D
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Postby roofie » Mon Sep 24, 2007 2:05 pm

IncaTrail50 wrote:... Must have been checking for those prized coca leaves :D


yeah, a smart tip for anyone heading out to Peru/Bolivia: don't keep any coca leaf-bags inside your packs. Remember that most airports have cuddly little dogs running all over your bags checking for stuff ;)
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Postby Trina » Mon Dec 03, 2007 12:22 am

I have always travelled with my bags locked but more to stop someone putting something in than taking something out! :roll:

I have not travelled to the US for over 12 years and have not had any problems with locking my bags.

I will be travelling through US next year and might just use cable ties from now on.
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Postby jboots » Sat Dec 15, 2007 4:25 am

I have given up on padlocks when going anywhere near the US. Cable ties work well and I've never had them cut off.

Fellow Australians are generally keen to lock their bags as there is an Australian in jail in Indonesia for 20 years after they found marijuana in her bag that she claims airport baggage handlers put there as part of a trafficking ring.

Better to be safe than in an Indonesian jail......
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