Jul 2nd, 2003, 06:30 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,336

I know that as of March, luggage is supposed to be left unlocked, but I was wondering what if anything people are doing to secure their luggage on flights overseas? We are leaving Saturday ( 4 of us) to Rome, and I have heard and read several troubling reports about stolen clothes.

Thanks for the help!
Weadles is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2003, 07:07 PM
Posts: n/a
We do not lock bags for flights, but we do lock them for train trips. Locking your bag for a flight tempts fate and attention when there is a sea of unlocked luggage available. We do not pack anything worth stealing. We use cheap, plain luggage and do nothing to attract attention to ourselves. We dress casually and leave tiaras at home. We insure and ship valuable items purchased while traveling. We have never been ripped off and I wish the same for you.
Jul 2nd, 2003, 07:08 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,898
You can go into Home Depot and purchase a container of plastic ties--similar to what comes with garbage bags--

These automatically lock on when put on luggage,BUT because they are plastic, can be snipped open by airline inspectors and replaced with the airlines OWN plastic lock...

THESE are the only type locks that are allowed- If you use the old fashioned metal locks and they need to get into your suitcase, they will Break and ruin those metal locks..
Take enought of the plastic locks for your entire family for use at every airport you will be checking into for EACH piece of checked luggage.....

THese plastic lock thingies are in the electrical dept. of Home Depot...they cost pennies and do give you peace of mind...
andy is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2003, 09:30 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,107
We used the plastic zip ties for the first time on a recent trip and liked them a lot. If you pull them pretty tight it requires a little fiddling to cut them open -- hopefully long enough to deter a thief looking for a quick ransack of your bag.

Don't forget to put a small knife or scissors in an unsecured pocket of your checked luggage so you can cut the ties when you arrive!
Marilyn is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2003, 01:28 AM
Posts: n/a
There was a recent article in the Washington Post about what has emerged as a major problem with theft from unlocked luggage and how the TSA is ill-equipped, and soemwhat unwilling, to handle it.
IF you check in at an airport that scans the luggage for bombs, etc., PRIOR to check-in..and many still do as do many in Europe, then you can lock your luggage.
I disagree that lcoked luggage "calls attention" to it...on hardsided cases, in particular, it is nigh on to impossible to TELL if it is locked or not by just looking at it.
Jul 3rd, 2003, 01:34 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 428
From the TSA web site "Unlocking Checked Bags

TSA suggests that you help prevent the need to break your locks by keeping your bags unlocked. In some cases screeners will have to open your baggage as part of the screening process. If your bag is unlocked then TSA will simply open the bag and screen the bag. However if the bag is locked and TSA needs to open your bag then locks may have to be broken. You may keep your bag locked if you choose but TSA is not liable for damage caused to locked bags that must be opened for security purposes. If you are transporting a firearm please refer to the on "Transporting Firearms and Ammunition" section at the bottom of this page for directions on locking your bag.

If TSA screeners open your bag during the screening procedure they will close it with a tamper evident seal and place a notice in your bag alerting you to the fact that TSA screeners opened your bag for inspection.

In the near future TSA will provide seals at the airport for you to use to secure your bags as an alternative to locks. Until that time you may want to consider purchasing standard "cable ties " which can be found at your local hardware store. The 4 to 5 inch variety cable ties generally work best since they are the easiest to remove at your destination and can be used to close almost every bag with zippers. If TSA needs to inspect your bag the screeners will cut off the seal and replace it with another seal.

Missing Contents

TSA screeners exercise great care during the screening process to ensure that your contents are returned to your bag every time a bag needs to be opened. TSA will assess on an individual basis any loss or damage claims made to TSA. You may call the TSA Contact Center toll-free at 1-866-289-9673 if you have questions.

Packing Tips

Do not put film in your checked baggage. Some of the new checked baggage screening equipment will damage undeveloped film.
Avoid packing food and drink items in checked baggage.
Avoid over-packing your bag. This will make it easier for the screener to reseal your bag if it is opened for inspection. If possible spread your contents over several bags. Check with your airline or travel agent for maximum weight limitations and any fees that may apply.
Spread out books and documents within your baggage; do not stack them on top of each other.
Consider putting personal belongings in clear plastic bags. This will reduce the chance that a TSA screener will have to handle them.

See our Travel Preparation section for a complete listing of other packing and timesaving tips.

Italiano is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2003, 02:24 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 15
My sister's suitcase was screened on our BA flight to London and it was not secured afterwards with any sort of zip-tie lock. There was just one of those notes enclosed that it had been searched.
However since the contents of her tightly packed bag looked untouched we guessed once they opened it and saw it was the bag of a teenage girl (who somehow managed to fit half her wardrobe in one suitcase) they probably thought no way am I searching this! I don't know how she fit everything in there. : )
Another person in our party also had the same note in their bag and could tell everything had been searched.
I don't lock anything. I try to pack really light and bring stuff that I'm not too concerned about but I've never had anything stolen from my bag so I didn't give it too much thought before...
kay99 is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2003, 11:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,098
You are still allowed to lock your bags if you want to, but, as discussed above, they might have to break the locks if they need to take a look inside. We use softside luggage, so locks aren't really there to keep a determined thief out--it's to keep the suitcase from opening accidently and deter the casual sneak thief. I buy cheap key locks; the kind you can easily open with anything that fits into the keyhole. Haven't had a problem with any of the locks being broken yet.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2003, 12:25 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,710
The afore-mentioned zip ties were called "cable ties" at my local hardware store, and a package of 100 cost about $2. I've been sharing them to friends and coworkers who weren't aware of the new policies.

I put a small pair of nail clippers in an *outside* pocket of my luggage (in a mini ziplock that contains more ties) so that I can clip the tie off after I arrive at my destination. Works great, and I'm leaving the bag in the pocket so it's all there for future trips.
Lesli is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2003, 12:34 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,025
I see lots of people at the airport wrapping their suitcases with giant saran wrap. It's big bucks for the vendors who own the concession rights at the airport, but as far as whether it makes a difference, if they wanna get into your luggage, they'll get into your luggage.
Nutella is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2003, 12:51 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 150
How funny it was to read this thread. I recently returned from a trip To Italy. I purchased the plastic cable ties from Home Depot and "locked" my luggage with them. I figured, if they needed to open my bags, all they had to do was snip them off and perhaps it was just enough security to keep some hands out of my bag. When I got to my room, I realized that I packed my snippers and small scissors inside the "locked" bag. Those plastic ties sure are sturdy. I stayed at an inn, and by the time I opened my bags, there were no staff around. I did find a book of matches and very skillfully burned an edge of the tie enough to break it off. My husband was postitive I would burn our luggage. So yes, use the ties for a little peace of mind...and pack your clippers or scissors in an outside pocket. Lifes best lessons are always learned the hard way
Allison is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2003, 07:52 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,432
Back in the days when everyone locked their bags, my suitcase arrived in Chicago completely torn apart. Apparently, the small lock caught on something, and the top ripped off the bag! As I was waiting at baggage claim, I saw my poor suitcase coming down the conveyer belt with underwear hanging out! Worst part was that American Airlines gave me a hard time about the damage. Eventually they agreed to repair it. Now I just use baggie ties to hold the zippers closed.
amp322 is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2003, 08:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,107
I once had a combination lock "deconstruct" on me in transit. I checked the combination (a standard one I always use) several times before locking it, but upon arrival at my hotel in Hong Kong, the damn thing wouldn't open. I had to get someone up to my room at 9pm to rip off the lock, while the rest of my party waited for me to go to dinner. What a hassle! I'm a convert to the cable ties, or whatever you want to call them.
Marilyn is offline  
Jul 4th, 2003, 06:15 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,336
Thanks very much for all the great advice! I just called American and was told that we can lock our bags after they've been scanned, which is what we did on our last trip in February. Still, from what I've read here, I think I'll go with the cable ties.

Weadles is offline  
Jul 4th, 2003, 06:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 402
Hi, Weadles - after much ranting and raving and worrying about it all, I'm also using the cable ties but put just inside the suitcase another tie inside an envelope with a note on it that asks the screener to use the tie in the envelope if they need to go through the bag. And nail clippers in the unsecured front pouch. Have a WONDERFUL time in Rome - I'm so jealous!!
Shanna is offline  
Jul 4th, 2003, 08:55 AM
Posts: n/a
Shanna, good idea you gave, but do you need the clippers if a match will melt the plastic?
inside the suitcase another tie inside an envelope with a note on it that asks the screener to use the tie in the envelope if they need to go through the bag. And nail clippers in the unsecured front pouch.
Jul 4th, 2003, 07:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,098
You can also carry your nail clippers in your pants pocket or purse. They are legal to carry on--not talking about nail scissors, but the clippers.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Jul 5th, 2003, 08:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 757
Another idea for locking luggage, use the rings from keychains and regular twisties from your bread,etc.

As with any locks-a determined person will get in but not one in a hurry.
maryann is offline  
Jul 5th, 2003, 10:43 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 169
On our trip to Mexico last fall I secured the zipper pulls of my softside suitcase with cable ties and carried a "baby" nail clipper in my purse - but i had cinched the cable ties reallllly tight, and spent a very sweaty 10 minutes literally "chipping" bits of plastic away with those teeny clippers to get the bag open! *Note to self - the cable ties do not have to be that tight, and you may carry regular clippers with no file attachment.*
luna is offline  
Jul 5th, 2003, 11:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,107
But luna, making them tight is exactly what you need to do for them to serve as a theft deterrant.
Marilyn is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:11 PM.