What are TSA locks? Who are the TSA?

The modern traveller is bolder and explores more dangerous cities and countries, where theft, identity theft and drug trafficking are common. Hence luggage manufacturers and travel accessory manufacturers have designed products to maximise traveller security. The major security advance has been the introduction of TSA locks as standard on most suitcases. TSA locks are usually combination locks, with a key lock as well, so they can be opened by a US government agency, called the transportation security administration (T.S.A). The TSA was created in 2001 in response to the 9/11 attacks and provides 100% screening of all checked baggage for explosives in the USA. See TSA History Timeline for more information.


Samsonite, Antler, IT Luggage, Lojel and most luggage manufacturers attach a TSA lock to their bags, enabling the traveller to lock the zippers into the TSA lock structure using their personal combination. If on entry to the USA, TSA security can readily access and check your bag, if they need to. If there is no TSA lock, security is empowered to cut any lock to gain access. This can easily damage the suitcase. 


What if my bag lacks a TSA lock?


As a TSA lock is only required if travelling to the USA some manufacturers do not supply a TSA lock on all their bags, Examples: Delsey is a French company focussed on Europe, Delsey will supply a “loose” TSA lock in the bag, but refrain from attaching it to the actual suitcase on some ranges. Also on soft side suitcases and duffle bags, the secure traveller needs to lock up numerous outside pockets. There are a number of “loose” TSA padlocks available.



Indicator TSA


Some TSA locks, like the Korjo TSA combination lock with indicator, have an indicator, which alerts you to when the lock has been key opened by customs.


Card Lock TSA


For the traveller who forgets combinations, they designed a TSA lock that is opened by card. Simply store the card with your credit cards, and use it as needed.


Elsewhere in the world


Apparently a number of countries are contemplating the U.S. TSA system. Hence, the TSA lock is probably a “Must Have” on a new suitcase.