Using a luggage lock is useful for security and orderliness - you do not want your luggage to open, thus misplacing your property. You may wonder whether you can get a luggage lock at the airport, considering how busy it is. We talked with experts, and this is what they have to say.
You can buy luggage locks in airports, supermarkets, or local stores. Because there are many types of locks on sale in airport stores, you can choose the one that appeals to you.
If you want to know more about locks and have your luggage adequately secured when you travel, kindly read until the end.
Can I Buy A Luggage Lock At The Airport?
A luggage lock is essential when packing, even if you are very careful and have never encountered theft. Please consider installing a lock to avoid the embarrassment of watching your luggage fly across the waiting hall because your wares are not well secured.
If you want to get one, consider visiting local stores or markets. However, you can still get a lock from stores at the airport.
There is a variety of luggage locks that you can choose from. They include:
- Key lock - this is a local padlock that you can use for different purposes. You lock your luggage by pressing the padlock into the socket. You then store your key separately for security purposes.
- Combination lock - this lock relieves the pain of losing your key or card. You use a code to close your luggage. You must memorize the code or store it on your phone since you need to match the numbers to unlock your suitcase.
- Card lock - a card lock relies on a card to open up. The card serves as the key. However, it is easier to keep than a key; slide it alongside your credit cards, and you won't need to look for it.
- Cable lock - a cable lock works like a combination lock, except it is slightly different. It has a semi-flexible cable instead of a stiff metal. It is very versatile for different luggage types.
- Retractable cable lock - this is a type of cable lock. The difference is that it allows you to lock more than one piece of luggage together or fasten your luggage to a particular object.
There are other luggage locks with unique features to suit your taste.
Should I Put A Lock On My Checked Bag?
While locks are handy for security and help keep your luggage intact, when you're checking in, the Transport Security Administration (TSA) have some measures that give them the right to do a physical search if necessary.
There are TSA locks in the market that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Furthermore, some bags have inbuilt TSA locks. To identify a TSA-approved lock, check for a red diamond - this is the unique Travel Sentry Logo.
If you use a TSA-approved lock when you check in, your luggage will be left just as you kept it. But if you used a lock that TSA disapproves of and they see a need to do a physical search on the bag, these officials have the right to rip off the lock.
In that case, the officials will leave a note in your luggage. So, it is essential to use a TSA lock. Also, you can consider not locking the bag if it does not have valuables.
TSA strongly recommends putting your valuables, such as money, jewelry, electronics, or identification cards, in carry-on bags for security reasons.
How Much Do TSA Locks Cost?
Luggage locks are not expensive. At Walmart online stores, the price ranges between $6 and $25, while on Ali express, the price range is about $2 to $20. Also, on Amazon, you can get locks that cost as low as $7 or as high as $100.
The price varies based on the lock's quality and size.
Regardless of the cost of a luggage lock, getting a lock is one of the most inexpensive ways to secure your luggage. If your luggage gets tampered with or stolen, you may lose more than what a luggage lock will cost.
Even if you do not trust TSA locks, do not leave your luggage open even when you lodge in a room since cleaners will come around. Furthermore, sometimes hotels have master keys. So it is better to get a luggage lock. That is how you know your luggage is safe.
Are TSA Locks Easy To Pick?
TSA locks protect luggage from theft while allowing TSA officials to access it. Although you retain your bag's key, the officials have master keys to enable them to access the luggage.
While this is a good idea for the safety of the passengers, it doesn't guarantee that your luggage is secure. Criminals have gone ahead to print those master keys or cards and can access your luggage if they want to.
TSA locks can be easily picked using a paper clip or guessing combination codes. Bolt cutters can also cut through their shackles. Sometimes thieves don't even go through the padlock; they simply spoil the zipper.
The safest way to protect your valuables is to pack them in your carry-on bag, just like the TSA officials recommend.
That said, it is still wise to get TSA locks for your bags to keep people from sneaking things into your luggage or denting by TSA officials when trying to open non-TSA locks on your bag.
Are TSA Locks Worth It?
Although TSA locks are third-party locks, they are not really worth it. So, spending extra on TSA locks or bags with built-in TSA locks is not advisable. Get one to keep your things in place, but remember that they don't give 100% security.
Keep your luggage close so you can monitor it, or consider other ways of ensuring 100% security of your luggage.
Can I Use Zip Ties On My Luggage?
You can use a zip tie for your luggage, but it is not as secure as using a TSA padlock. It can only deter intruders from entering your bag and prevent your belongings from slipping off.
Zip ties can act as alternatives to TSA padlocks. TSA officials can untie them and do a physical search if they need to. So, if you are tired of purchasing expensive locks or are a regular traveler, you can consider zip ties.
How To Unlock A Suitcase Without The Code
Forgetting your code can be very frustrating. Sometimes you can't remember it or have misplaced the note where you wrote it. If you have ever gone through this, you'll agree it is a challenging situation.
Some people resort to breaking in through the zip, but the issue with the wrong method is that it can cause more damage, and you may never be able to use the luggage again.
First, you need to know the type of lock you are dealing with. Some locks are easy to pick, while others are difficult and may require a TSA MasterCard or an irregular method to open them up.
If you are sure of your code, but your luggage remains locked after trying it, your code may have changed. The change can happen because of vibrations in the plane. To unlock the luggage, try replacing the code numbers, one number each time.
Another simple method is to try the default code, usually 000 or 999. If it doesn't work, try all the possible codes - this one is tougher but not technical. There are 1000 possible trials in a 3-code padlock. You can start with 001, 002, 003 till 999. This process can take about 10 minutes.
You can also try getting a MasterCard or key and try using it. The TSA officials always have one.
If all the above do not work, explore other technical ways to unlock your luggage.
Why Should TSA Open My Luggage?
TSA has the right to open up your luggage as they see fit. They do this to ensure passengers carry only safe items into the plane. They remove dangerous substances like inflammable ones.
Luggage locks are vital if you are traveling. TSA locks are cheap and preferable, although they are third-party locks. You can buy them at the supermarket, online, or at airport stores. Alternatively, you can use zip ties in place of TSA locks.
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