Air Travel Lock Advice from Dan Frederick Schramm for Blue Planet Security Corp.(tm)
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Missing Locks and damaged baggage including zippers and zipper pulls
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This information is from the TSA web site with additional information from Blue Planet.

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TSA LOCK POLICY: In some cases screeners will have to open your baggage as part of the screening process. If your bag is unlocked, then TSA will simply open and screen the baggage.

However, if you decide to lock your checked baggage and TSA cannot open your checked baggage through other means (TSA Recognized Locks ), then the locks may have to be broken. For soft-sided baggage, this process will NOT damage your zippers or zipper pulls. TSA is not liable for damage caused to locked bags that must be opened for security purposes.

Locks (including TSA recognized locks), along with your baggage, can also be damaged by airport conveyor belt systems as shown below:

Baggage system illustration

The image below is a collection of 244 locks pulled from under an airport baggage handling conveyor belt where the two belts come together. These were collected over a period of one month at a New York Airport.

Locks destroyed by baggage system.

Please understand that unseen forces besides TSA may have contributed to your lock missing or your baggage damaged in transit.

Illustration of Baggage Handling System

Illustration of luggage handling system

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