TSA Luggage Locks - What a JOKE !

Oct 22nd, 2009, 07:11 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 58
TSA Luggage Locks - What a JOKE !

I just came back from a Mexican Riviera cruise with a two nights stay in Las Vegas.

Before leaving from Canada I saw an article about TSA Luggage Locks that were good for any airports. I had seen them but didn't know if it was a good idea.

The night before leaving I tried to find some but no luck.

When I was in Las Vegas I saw some, bought one with numbers (US$13.00). Put it on my suitcase. It said "you will see a green dot if your suitcase is not opened for inspection and a red one if they did inspect it".


I know they inspected my suitcase, not by the red dot on my lock but by MY TSA LOCK MISSING!!!

Why bother to buy those locks if they keep them. Next time I'm using a $1 lock, if they keep it at least I will loose only $1 not $13.00.

I don't know if Las Vegas airport is worse for checking because on my first trip to Las Vegas, about seven years ago, my suitcase came back WITH NO LOCK.

I would like to know if it happened to anyone else.
whiteowlmtlca is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2009, 07:30 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,209
My TSA lock disappeared in September at the MEM airport. We had to pick up the bag for customs and then return it for pick up
in baggage claim. The lock was on it for customs but gone after
going through security. Last year my lock was still on the luggage but I had several things missing from my bag, but don't know where they were taken. We only take carry on to our destination, but usually check a bag or two on the return flight.
This year I didn't check anything of importance for the
return flight, but was a bit hacked about my missing lock.
violetduck is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2009, 07:33 PM
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TSA is a joke, and all locks are jokes. I don't use one and I don't put valuables in my checked luggage. In fact, I don't check luggage for most of my trips.
rkkwan is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2009, 07:41 PM
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A few years ago, my TSA lock was missing when I arrived in Houston from DFW. The flight originated in Frankfurt and was still on my suitcase when we picked it up for Customs in DFW. I had foolishly packed some of my medications in the suitcase, so I guess some druggie at the airport got into it.

We have used TSA locks since then with no problem.
bettyk is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2009, 08:26 PM
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Locks are pointless when you consider that anyone can get into a bag with a nylon zipper with a ballpoint pen, then reclose the (self-mending) zipper with no one the wiser.

There's really no way to know whether TSA removed the lock. They are supposed to insert a printed slip in any bag they open, but that could be overlooked, and anyone can fire off photocopies of those slips.
djkbooks is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2009, 11:00 AM
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Just to let you know exactly HOW useless the locks are...

Go to YouTube. Do a search and you will find LOTS of videos on "how to open the lock"

All the lock does IMHO is show the dishonest "this person has something they don't want to lose, do I want it?" Honestly, the TSA is not exactly the image of "honesty" here. Several months ago there was an arrest at LAX because baggage handlers were stealing from luggage. And how did they know what to steal, they stole things seen on the x-rays. And who does the x-rays, the TSA. So the TSA TOLD the thiefs what to take out of the goodness of thier heart?
CarolA is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2009, 01:17 PM
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Anything dangling from luggage, such as an ID tag, a lock, or a cute little doll, can be broken off accidentally by the luggage handlers, or intentionally by anyone who can get to it. So unless you have a witness to the breakin, I think you cannot say TSA is the culprit.

Even the best locks are easily broken off (often it is the hasp on the bag that breaks), so I think putting money into one is a feel-good gesture, rather than a effective security measure. The best security measure is to carry your valuables, not check them. My wife and I use a lace tied with a thief's knot on each checked bag, but only to keep the bag from popping open while we drag it behind us and exposing our taste in underwear.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2009, 08:51 PM
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I don't check bags so I don't have to lock anything. But in my packing classes I recommend those who just feel they must lock it, to use cable ties. Cheap, colorful to help you locate your bag on the carousel, and just as secure as a lock.

Then at arrival you can snip the cable tie w/ your nail clippers (just remember to NOT pack the nail clippers inside your locked bag )
janisj is online now  
Oct 24th, 2009, 05:13 AM
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Cable ties are not always TSA-proof, either. A few years ago, TSA (I know it was TSA because there as a note in the bag) opened my bag by ripping off the cable tie and taking one end of the zipper along with it. Unfortunately, I didn't notice the full extent of the damage until I was 4-5 days into a trip in Japan, when I tried to zip up and lock my bag again.
ms_go is online now  
Oct 24th, 2009, 05:55 AM
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I've had 2 TSA locks cut off in the last 3 years so I won't buy them again. Besides, I rarely check luggage due to my track record of 8 incidents of delayed luggage. I really don't expect my luggage to be there when I arrive anymore.
P_M is offline  
Oct 24th, 2009, 03:51 PM
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When the TSA locks first came out, I used them on my next trip, even pointing out to the security guy at the scanner that it was a TSA lock. When I got my suitcase back, not only was the TSA lock gone, they had actually cut the zipper to get into my bag. Since then I only use cable ties. They don't really stop anyone from getting into a bag, but they might slow them down a bit, increasing their risk of getting caught.

I don't understand why there aren't better cameras watching the entire bag process, from checkin to putting it on the plane.
happytourist is offline  
Oct 24th, 2009, 06:12 PM
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Any lock can be defeated. The better the lock, the more it looks like something in the case deserves to be locked up, increasing the potential for thievery. Cable ties are cheap and insecure, and therefore do not attract thieves. They do keep the suitacase from popping open.
AJPeabody is online now  
Oct 25th, 2009, 05:21 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 2,121
There's no point in adding a lock that anyone can open.

The proof that TSA is not securing air travel is that things are still stolen from luggage. If airports were really secured, nobody would be able to get out of secure baggage areas with stolen goods. The fact that they can easily do so proves that either (1) TSA is incompetent at securing these areas and is thus putting air travel in danger, or (2) TSA itself is stealing luggage and is thus dishonest. Either way, it's TSA's fault, and it proves that TSA serves no purpose.

I'm surprised that so few people have reached this inevitable, logical conclusion.

Do banks lose thousands of dollars in cash to theft every day? No, because security is tight and bank employees are honest. Do airports lose hundreds of items to theft from luggage every day? Yes, because there's no real security at the airport and many of the employees responsible for security are themselves as dishonest as crooks. There's no two ways about it.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Oct 25th, 2009, 08:20 AM
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I use either twist-ties or the cable ties - NOT because I think they will protect me from invasion or theft but as an easily-seen signal on arrival that my luggage MAY have been opened. If the tie is missing when I pick up my bag, I immediately look to see if the TSA note is there and if anything's missing. If you want to file a claim against the airline for loss, you need to do it on the spot, not after you've taken the bag home and found a problem.

I also use the ties in hotels - again, under no illusion that they'll really protect anything but more as a signal that something might be wrong - and MAYBE it might have a wee bit of deterrent value.

Having had a conveyor belt in an airport tear off one of those TSA padlocks and take the zipper head with it, I don't use anything that I can't make lie flat against the side of the case.
Cyanna is offline  
Jan 10th, 2011, 04:09 PM
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I would never buy a TSA lock for my luggage. I read an article on luggage with TSA locks and I am convinced that if you are looking for securing your contents, buy luggage with the TSA lock built into it, not as an add on. I also prefer hardside luggage for my overseas travel. Here's a link to the article that I found and would recommend for everyone to
DragonflyDebi is offline  
Jan 10th, 2011, 11:59 PM
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"But in my packing classes "

Packing classes????
alanRow is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 09:25 AM
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We still have the TSA lock that I bought when they've started them! Survived RT to Zurich and Copenhagen with layovers in the US and in Europe. And Las Vegas too, by the way.

We have a simple one with a small key, never a problem. Sometimes get a note inside "inspected" but the lock is back in place.

We don't check in nor take on trips anything valuable, and our lock serves only the purpose of the zipper pulls not to open by themselves.
Dayenu is offline  
Dec 20th, 2011, 10:04 AM
Join Date: Dec 2011
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All one needs to do is go to EBAY and search for Luggage Locks USED. You will find people selling them in large numbers as groups of locks. So I ask this - WHO HAS 40 USED TSA LOCKS? They are obviously STOLEN. What a joke TSA is. THIEVES!
niceguysj is offline  
Feb 10th, 2012, 09:07 AM
Join Date: Feb 2012
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This is my theory:
The TSA inspections involve having several bags "unlocked" at a time to speed up the process. When it comes time to relock the locks, they don't remember which lock gooes on which bag and decide to just not put any locks back on those "confused" bags inspected.
Buying colored coordinated locks might help but only if it makes sense to the inspector at the time.
Would be pretty funny (sic) if people got back their bags with locks THEY couldn't open.

There are probably not many who would want to steal a lock that they have no combination for.

I never put things in check-thru luggage that I can't live without and block out the part of visualizing strangers laughing at my "old-lady panties".
SuZamme is offline  
Feb 10th, 2012, 09:10 AM
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Posts: 91,116
I quit locking my luggage at least a decade ago. There's really no point to it. Just secure the zippers with twist ties or plastic cable ties. You shouldn't pack valuables in checked luggage anyways.
suze is offline  

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