What are TSA Locks? | Luggage Buying Guide in 2024

TSA locks are indispensable, sparing you from unnecessary expenses for new luggage or repairs incurred during security inspections at airports and other occasions where customs inspections are necessary. Wondering why damage might occur and why TSA locks are a must-have? Demystify these concerns with the assistance of this comprehensive guide.

  • What are TSA Locks?
  • Can TSA open locked suitcases?
  • Can TSA open regular suitcase combination locks?
  • How does the TSA open locked luggage?
  • How to open a suitcase with TSA lock and set the combination?
  • How do you unlock a TSA lock if you forgot the combination?
  • Is TSA lock mandatory for travel? When do I need to use a bag with a TSA lock?
  • Is Airwheel TSA approved?

What are TSA Locks?

“.., it’s also important to understand that TSA officers must be able to inspect baggage and contents when the need arises. That’s where TSA recognized locks come in.” This requirement has been emphasized by the Transportation Security Administration since 2014.

TSA-approved locks are designed to facilitate TSA officers to open and examine luggage interiors without causing irreparable damage on the luggage. Any luggage lock bearing the Travel Sentry mark, resembling a red diamond, is considered TSA-approved. These locks can be opened with a universal key specially designed to unlock any TSA-approved lock.

TSA-approved locks come in various types and models, including those integrated ones with matching keys and TSA pad locks, among others. It's essential to note that luggage using a basic code may get broken open for security inspection.

What are TSA Locks

Can TSA open locked suitcases?

TSA is limited in its ability to open all suitcases. Specifically, they possess the capability to unlock suitcases secured with a TSA-approved lock, utilizing a universal key designed for this purpose. However, when confronted with a suitcase lacking a TSA-approved lock, TSA officers may resort to cutting the lock to conduct necessary inspections.

For a smoother travel experience and to circumvent any potential inconveniences at the security checkpoint, it is highly recommended to invest in a suitcase equipped with a TSA-approved lock. This ensures that your luggage can be easily inspected without resorting to lock removal methods that might result in damage. Opting for this security measure can save you from unnecessary complications during security screenings.

Can TSA open regular suitcase combination locks?

TSA officers advocate for the use of luggage featuring TSA-recognized locks, for which they can easily open with a master key. Unlike their TSA-approved counterparts, standard combination locks lack the convenience. In the absence of a TSA-approved lock, facing the challenge of inspecting luggage secured with conventional combination locks, TSA authorities might have to forcefully cut off the lock.

The debate around luggage security raises varied opinions. Some travelers argue that the inconvenience of potential damage to their locks and the need for replacements outweigh the benefits of using regular locks. On the other hand, proponents of traditional locks cite concerns about the privacy and security of their belongings, suggesting that relying on TSA-approved locks might compromise the confidentiality of their possessions.

Ultimately, the choice between regular suitcase combination locks and TSA-approved locks is a matter of personal preference and risk tolerance. As travelers weigh the pros and cons, the broader discussion prompts a reevaluation of luggage security standards and the efficacy of current TSA practices.

How does the TSA open locked luggage?

TSA utilizes a master key capable of opening all TSA-approved locks. However, if the locked luggage is secured with alternative locks, such as combination locks, that lack compatibility with the TSA master key, customs authorities may be compelled to use forceful methods, such as cutting off the lock, to gain access to the contents of the luggage. This distinction in procedures emphasizes the significance of selecting TSA-approved locks, ensuring a smoother security inspection process and reducing the risk of damage to personal belongings during routine screenings.

How to open a suitcase with TSA lock and set the combination?

Suitcases equipped with a TSA lock and combination code have become a popular choice for travelers. This type of lock not only allows airport customs authorities easy access to inspect the luggage but also provides travelers with the convenience of setting and adjusting their own combination codes.

Upon receiving your new luggage with a TSA lock and combination code, the initial step to open the suitcase is aligning all the numbers to 0, which is the factory setting. Simultaneously, press the sliding button.

To set the combination, follow the step-by-step instructions below:

  • Use a pointed object, such as a pen, to push the 'in' button.
  • Set your desired new combination code.
  • Press the sliding button again, causing the 'in' button to resurface.
  • Verify if the new combination code works effectively.

By adhering to these simple steps, you can unlock your suitcase and customize the combination code, ensuring a secure and tailored travel experience.


02 open the suitcase by aligning

03 push the in button

04 set new code11

05 press the sliding button again

06 check if it works

How do you unlock a TSA lock if you forgot the combination?

If you ever find yourself in the frustrating situation of forgetting your TSA lock combination, there are a couple of effective solutions to consider. The initial step is to reach out to the luggage company for a quick and efficient resolution. Travel Sentry, the organization that certifies TSA-approved locks, suggests attempting every conceivable combination from 000 to 999.

Alternatively, you can explore some recommended methods outlined here for unlocking your TSA lock.

Is TSA lock mandatory for travel? When do I need to use a bag with a TSA lock?

While it's not mandatory, opting for a TSA lock for your luggage can offer added security and convenience. A TSA lock allows customs officers to open your luggage with ease when necessary. It's advisable to use luggage with a TSA lock, especially when you anticipate passing through docks, stations, or other locations where your luggage may undergo inspection by customs officers.

Is Airwheel TSA approved?

Absolutely, every piece of luggage from Airwheel is TSA approved. Meticulously crafted to adhere to aviation safety protocols, they comply with regulations set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Check out luggage scooters on Airwheel right now.

07 Is Airwheel TSA approved