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My TSA-friendly locks were cut off, again!

San Pedro, CA
Level Contributor
140 posts
3 reviews
My TSA-friendly locks were cut off, again!
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What is the point of paying for special luggage locks for which TSA is supposed to have keys, only to have them cut off for access? For the second time in about three years, both on American Airlines, my lock has been cut off. The first time the damaged lock was still hanging there, this time the lock was completely gone and the love note left inside by TSA confirmed my suspicion that it had been cut off rather than fallen off due to improper closure on my part. We carry anything of any value in our carry-on luggage, but I still do like to lock my bags if we are checking them (which we tend to do on the return trip when the bags are heavy and/or expanded with souvenirs). What does everyone else do?

Rocky Hill...
Level Contributor
3 posts
68 reviews
31 helpful votes
51. Re: My TSA-friendly locks were cut off, again!
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OK, so the locks are cut off. The manufacturers of these locks tell us that TSA has keys for these locks...then why are they being cut off? Who is lying?

Who should we be directing our complaints to and is it realistic to expect any honest answers from the TSA?

They are breaking the rules without repercussion. Is this fair? Is this legal? This is so frustrating.

Please...some one help. Is there a governmental agency that can help us?

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
45,007 posts
39 reviews
43 helpful votes
52. Re: My TSA-friendly locks were cut off, again!
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Patdown-

I would hope that the majority of TSA employees are like you. Even the negative reports here prove that a small, small percentage is bad--but you have that in every profession. BTW when I used to use cable ties ( now I use a TSA lock) I would have, on the top of my clothes a plastic ziplock with a note--telling TSA I understand they have to do their job but could they please take one of the enclosed new cable ties and reseal my suitcase. It was never opened, so I don't know if they would have.

Brougham-- The place I would complain to is a. a supervisor at TSA and b. my local Congressman or woman.

Edited: 6 years ago
Rocky Hill...
Level Contributor
3 posts
68 reviews
31 helpful votes
53. Re: My TSA-friendly locks were cut off, again!
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Great Advice. I guess I would have to have a mishap before writing to my congressman.

I have to tell you that I am apprehensive about communicating my concerns with the TSA at any level for fear of retaliation. I know I sound paranoid as all heck, but they have the technology to keep tabs on individuals and when my name pops up on their computer as a traveler, they just might give me a hard time.

I have Titanium in my body and every time I go through the security process, anything can happen. I usually get detained and scrutinized more so than the other passengers.

My girlfriend at the time had her butt tapped with a wand by a male TSA agent. I didn't know whether to sock him or just keep my mouth shut and pray that he didn't take it any further.

I'm sure that there are other more horrifying travel stories to be told so I should count my blessings and just keep forging on.

Thanks again for your response. It was very helpful and timely.

Sincerely grateful!

Melbourne
Level Contributor
3,390 posts
2 reviews
5 helpful votes
54. Re: My TSA-friendly locks were cut off, again!
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rdglady - that's a great idea - I use TSA-approved locks and frequently have my luggage searched, probably due to the presence of the tripod and the various cables and chargers that could look suspicious on x-ray. Up to last year the locks showed that they had been opened but were replaced. Last year I had an Antler suitcase with a built-in TSA lock and that whole lock was destroyed which was annoying (and I'd have thought unnecessary).

However, in the great scheme of things it's ONLY a lock on a suitcase. Personally I was relieved that it had been opened by TSA - they left a note - not by some random stranger with a fetish for unwashed clothes. The zips still have the loop-things for a separate lock so the loss of the inbuilt lock is not a great hardship. Also, I'm not wild about the suitcase, to be honest, it's huge and it doesn't have great handles to get hold of it when lifting into/out of taxis which is tiresome.

The Airport
3 posts
55. Re: My TSA-friendly locks were cut off, again!
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Just today I had to cut a TSA-approved lock because it simply would not open. I spent a good deal of time trying to get it to open. I had my partner try it. I had a LEO try it. After about 10 minutes of messing with it, while the bags just keep coming and coming, piling up, I called the airline and was immediately told to cut it off. I had no other choice.

Brougham1952 - you're not going to be put on a "list" for complaining about the TSA to your congressman, or anyone else for that matter. Go right ahead and voice your concerns. I wish you lots of luck with that.

UK
Level Contributor
49,560 posts
82 reviews
193 helpful votes
56. Re: My TSA-friendly locks were cut off, again!
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Just today I had to cut a TSA-approved lock because it simply would not open. I spent a good deal of time trying to get it to open.

------

I'm sure it happens. I had a strap sliced through and two locks not cut off but ripped off, damaging the zips. I suppose all three could have been faulty but more likely the person dealing with my cases had lost his TSA keys I guess?

Edited: 6 years ago
UK
Level Contributor
49,560 posts
82 reviews
193 helpful votes
57. Re: My TSA-friendly locks were cut off, again!
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Brougham1952 - you're not going to be put on a "list" for complaining about the TSA to your congressman, or anyone else for that matter.

-----------

…wordpress.com/2010/…

http://m.slashdot.org/story/150438

T Y
Fremont, California
1 post
58. Re: My TSA-friendly locks were cut off, again!
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I was on American Airline this holiday to TX and back to CA, both trips, my TSA locks were cut off (that's within 10 days). I was really upset so I talked to AA and they told me it's no longer allowed to lock the bags. I asked what's the point of making TSA locks (they are expensive too) if it's not allowed, AA told me to contact TSA. So I called TSA and was told that TSA encourages locking your checked in bags with TSA approved locks. And if TSA ever inspected your checked in bags, they will leave a note inside. In my case, I did not find any note inside of my bag. I can't help not to suspect AA since they gave me false information.

Ottawa, Canada
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1,425 posts
27 reviews
15 helpful votes
59. Re: My TSA-friendly locks were cut off, again!
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I always use a TSA lock, but not so much to protect against theft as to avoid having something placed in the bag without my knowledge.

Travelers are told repeatedly that they are responsible for anything that goes into their luggage, and are often asked, at check-in, if they packed their own bags or are carrying something for someone else. And if carry-on bags are left unattended for any length of time they must be put through security again (happened to me once when I left my bag to duck into the bathroom near the boarding gate). If anyone were to slip drugs or contraband goods into my luggage, I would have to prove that they are not mine, and that I am unaware of their presence in my bag - not an easy task in jurisdictions where one is more likely to be considered guilty until proven innocent.

UK
Level Contributor
49,560 posts
82 reviews
193 helpful votes
60. Re: My TSA-friendly locks were cut off, again!
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<<I always use a TSA lock, but not so much to protect against theft as to avoid having something placed in the bag without my knowledge.>>

It won't.

<<If anyone were to slip drugs or contraband goods into my luggage>>

Why on earth would anyone do that ?

Edited: 6 years ago