In the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. government has instituted new regulations for luggage on airlines. One of these includes the TSA-approved lock. The Transportation and Security Administration requires that locks on luggage be TSA-approved, or they may be cut off if a TSA official needs to visually inspect the contents of a suitcase. Where are these locks available? How much are they?
- TSA-approved luggage locks are made by various companies, but must bear either the Safe Skies torch and flame logo, or the Travel Sentry red diamond. These logos alert security personnel that they can safely open the luggage lock without having to cut it off. All TSA-approved locks have a mechanism that any TSA official at any U.S. airport can open if necessary.
- These locks come in many varieties. Some have a combination that the traveler sets, some open only with keys. The traveler can decide which locks he feels are most secure. Some locks also have alert windows that change from green to red if a TSA official or unauthorized person opens the lock. Most locks are metal but can be purchased in bright colors, as well.
- TSA-approved locks are widely available online. A search for TSA luggage locks will turn up dozens of hits, and the traveler can search a variety of manufacturers, styles and prices. Most travel-oriented Web sites sell these locks, but they are available from Web sites selling items as diverse as handbags and backpacks.
- If a traveler would rather get a close look at a lock before purchase, he can find them at many brick and mortar stores, as well. They are available at discount stores that sell luggage, at department stores in the luggage department, and even in some office supply stores, with other travel accessories.
Some stores sell complete luggage accessory kits that include identification tags, nylon straps to secure smaller pieces of luggage to larger pieces, and the TSA-approved locks. These kits often come in neon colors that help a traveler easily identify his luggage in the baggage claim area.
- TSA-approved luggage locks vary widely in price. It all depends on what features are offered. A set of three simple key-locks will be about $6-$8 in a discount store, while a set of combination locks with the alert windows can run up to $25. The choice all depends on what level of security a traveler thinks he may need.