How To Know If Your Luggage Lock Is TSA Approved

For all of the exciting rewards and experiential benefits travel offers up, it also comes with an inevitable collection of potential risks. When airlines are included in your travel experience, one of those risks is damage to your luggage. Sometimes an airline damages your checked luggage as a result of being mishandled in transit. Other times, it comes down to that luggage lock you placed before departure.

Many travelers put a lock on their checked luggage in the hopes of further protecting their personal belongings. However, that lock may have to be broken off during the check-in process. This would be done by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the government agency responsible for airport security checks across the U.S.

Around 1.4 million checked bags are screened by TSA daily. Agents are charged with looking for everything from dangerous items to potential explosives. Beyond baggage screens, TSA agents also have the right to physically inspect the interior of bags. Doing so will require the forced removal of any locks you've placed on your luggage that aren't TSA approved.

While passengers aren't required to fly with a TSA approved lock on their luggage, it certainly makes inspections easier. It can also reduce the risk of damage to your luggage while helping you avoid paying for a lock that will only end up unusable after an inspection. Fortunately, knowing if your luggage lock is TSA approved is both simple and easy.

Purchase locks through TSA partner companies

The easiest way to know for sure if your luggage lock is TSA approved is to determine what company manufactured it. Currently, the TSA has master keys to locks produced by both Travel Sentry and Safe Skies Luggage Locks. The agreements between these companies and TSA allow agents who need to inspect passenger bags to use a master key to open and replace the locks safely and easily without having to destroy them in the process.

Both companies provide products with patented, TSA approved locking mechanisms in place. Travel Sentry first came about in 2003 and Safe Skies Luggage Locks followed closely behind in 2004. With TSA agreements firmly in place, these approved luggage lock companies provide passengers with easy access to purchasing their products online and in stores across the globe.

The websites for Safe Skies Luggage Locks and Travel Sentry both clearly outline their partnership with TSA and how the locks can be easily removed without having to be "clipped" during inspections. Safe Skies Luggage Locks has a lifetime warranty in place on their products. In the event the lock is mistakenly clipped, they'll replace it free of charge.

Look for those bold logos

Another great indicator that you're traveling with a TSA approved luggage lock is an easy-to-identify logo. Both Travel Sentry and Safe Skies Luggage Locks have opted for eye-catching red logos to stand out in a crowd. The locks themselves can differ in shape and size but whether you purchase a dial lock, a lock and key variety, or a cable lock, the red logos are a constant.

Travel Sentry products come with a bold red diamond logo on every product they produce. If you've purchased a TSA approved product through Safe Skies Luggage Locks, your lock will come with a red torch logo on the front instead. Both make it clear to TSA agents that your bags can easily be inspected as needed without hassle.

Anytime you have the option of making travel smooth and reducing stress, it's an effort worth investing in. Purchasing a TSA approved luggage lock helps security agents with inspecting your bags and cuts down on the number of locks you'll have to buy over time. It's a simple act that can go a long way toward improving your travel experience.