TSA and SearchAlert
A strong luggage lock is essential for keeping your belongings safe while traveling. Not only does it give you peace of mind while transporting your belongings from A to B, but locks can also act as a deterrent to thieves looking to offload you of your valuables.
But one thing that people often don’t realize is that after your bag gets checked in, it goes through a huge baggage scanner before being loaded onto the plane, and it can still be subject to inspection. If the Transport Security Administration (TSA) wish to search your bag and there are locks on it, they have jurisdiction to break them off to inspect the contents of your bags.
In response to this potential problem, a range of locks that have been approved by the TSA have been released, which can be opened by search agents using a master key. Having a TSA luggage lock (which will have the official red TSA logo on it) fitted to your bag will save you the hassle of replacing wrecked locks. Once the inspection is complete, the TSA will place a notice in your bag alerting you to the fact that the bag has been opened and searched, and will proceed to relock your bag.
When choosing a lock for your bag, as well as making sure it is TSA approved, another feature to look for is that it is a combination lock. This will save the hassle of losing the key and then having to force open the bag.
TSA SearchAlert Luggage Locks
Winners of the The Travel Insider's Best Travel Products award in 2003, SearchAlert locks are combination locks which also feature an alert system which tells the bag owner if the lock has been opened by the TSA. If the bag has been opened by search agents, then a light on the lock will turn red, alerting you to the fact. This feature helps you to know quickly if your bag has been opened, so you can check it at the airport to see if all the contents are still in it.
While locks won’t completely stop thieves from going after your bag (as they can simply steal the whole thing, or just slash the side open with a knife to gain access), they will help to deter them. It’s clearly an easier option for theives to go for bags that aren’t secured – or have locks of poor quality on them – then to try and break into a bag with a sturdy lock.
Don’t allow yourself to be a victim and take action by locking your belongings.