The Best Luggage Locks: A Guide to Finding the Right Lock

BY Travel Writer

Guide to TSA Luggage Locks – Which Lock to Choose

What is TSA? 

TSA stands for Transportation Security Administration of the United States Department of Homeland Security. TSA protects the nation’s airports and screens all commercial airline passengers and their baggage.

What are TSA Approved Luggage Locks? 

Travel Sentry Approved means the TSA has a master key that will open any TSA approved luggage lock, instead of breaking, cutting, or damaging a standard (non-TSA) lock to open it and gain access to your luggage. TSA’s master key features a special mechanism that enforces re-locking of the lock after inspection, which means the master key cannot be removed from the lock body until the luggage lock is re-secured. TSA screeners no longer have to cut locks or force your bag open and risk damaging it, if you travel with a TSA accepted lock.

Where is TSA Recognized? 

In addition, to the US and US territories, the UK, Canada, and Australia are also using this system.  In other countries, they may flag your bag for inspection. Usually, they require you to open it at the counter when you are physically present, unlike the US, where they may do it later or after you have checked your bags. In this case, you are present to unlock your TSA approved lock, without airport agents having to break it off.

What is Search Alert? 

When a TSA agent needs to check your luggage and uses their override device on the TSA accepted lock, the SearchAlert window changes from “Green” to “Red.” If the luggage lock’s Search Alert window is “Red” upon arrival, you need to open your luggage to see if a TSA “Notification of Baggage Inspection” has been placed inside. If no notification is found then, you should check to see if anything is missing or if something has been added to your luggage. Do this at the Airline Baggage Claim office. If the window shows green, your bag has not been opened. Only the owner of the lock can reset the window back to green; TSA cannot do it.

Why Should I Travel With TSA Luggage Locks? 

  • Locks are accepted, certified and recognized by TSA
  • Allows travelers the freedom to protect their belongings while not interfering with the need for airport security screeners to open bags for inspection
  • Key Free
  • Resettable combination or Key Card Locks
  • Dials and numbers are easy to see and operate
  • A luggage lock acts as a deterrent. If a thief is looking to steal from a piece of luggage, most likely the thief will go for a bag without a lock on it for quick in and out access, leaving little to no evidence behind.

Different Types of TSA Luggage Locks & Their Unique Functions

 Triple Lockdown Luggage Lock

One of the most common methods thieves use to enter bags with zippers is to split the zipper open with a pen or similar tool, take what they want, and reseal the zipper by sliding the zipper pull over the open portion of the zipper.  When your luggage bag is opened in this manner, it leaves no visual clue that your bag was broken into. Double flexible cable technology stops this type of theft. Attach one end of the lock to your bag handle and the other to the zipper pulls. This prevents the traveling of the zipper pulls by keeping them in place. Click here to read more!

TSA Flexible Cable Luggage Lock 

A strong, durable, flexible steel cable, (coated in rubber) is designed to thread more easily through the holes in zipper pulls than a hard formed shank. Search Alert security window changes from green to red if the lock has been opened by the TSA. Click here to read more!

 Pacsafe Strapsafe 100 TSA Luggage Strap 

Baggage Constrictor TM technology means strap cannot be loosened when locked. Great for hard case luggage! When the TSA secured access device is used to open the lock, the lock’s security window (upper right-hand corner of the lock) changes color from green to red.  When you arrive at your destination and retrieve your luggage, all you have to do is look at the StrapSafe 100 SearchAlert security window.  If it is still green, no one has entered your bag. TSA agents or airline employees cannot reset the SearchAlert entry window on the Strapsafe TSA Luggage Strap – only the owner of the combination can. Click here to read more!

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