When you drop off your luggage at check-in, it’s in a lot of hands and places before it’s in your possession again. With that said, perhaps you worry about the safety of its contents from time to time — especially if you’ve packed valuable (monetary or sentimental) items. So, this begs the question: Should you lock your luggage when you fly? Read on to find out.
The Benefits of Locking Your Luggage
Using a suitcase lock makes it more difficult for baggage handlers or strangers to riffle through your goods at the airport. Not to mention, luggage locks are a great way to ensure your personal belongings won’t fall out because the zippers are held together.
The Drawbacks of Locking Your Luggage
Even though locking your checked luggage can be a good idea, it’s not a solid guarantee that your personal belongings will be safe. Unfortunately, there are a lot of clever folks who know how to bust open a combination lock. Also, some thieves simply slice through a soft-sided bag to grab its contents. For this reason, you should always keep any valuables, heirlooms, or favorite items in your carry-on or personal item versus your checked luggage. Keep in mind that TSA typically doesn’t reimburse you for items stolen from your checked bag, and most airlines aren’t liable for the loss of pricy high ticket items such as electronics, jewelry, or rare souvenirs.
The Best Luggage Lock to Choose
The best lock to secure your luggage is one that’s TSA-approved. What is a TSA lock? This means all TSA agents have a master key that allows them to open your bag if they feel it needs extra screening. If you use a non-TSA lock, they’ll have to cut it off if they wish to get into your suitcase. Note that not all security officers outside the States have the same master keys, so it’s still possible that your lock will be cut off, which is something to consider if you want to lock up your luggage while traveling internationally.
TSA Lock Alternatives
Another easy and less expensive alternative to a lock is zip ties. So, if TSA clips them off, it won’t be a financial loss. Some travelers choose to wrap their suitcases in plastic, which prevents theft as well as breakage. You may have even seen this service offered at the airport. As with locks and zip ties, TSA agents have the right to cut off the plastic if they feel the need to inspect your luggage. The go is that some airport wrapping services may rewrap your bag for free post-security. The downside is that plastic isn’t the most environmentally friendly option.
Luggage locks can provide peace of mind when traveling. Briggs & Riley offers a lightweight TSA accepted combination cable luggage lock that’s ideal for securing zipper compartments on checked or carry-on luggage.