TSA Locks

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TSA Locks
« on: August 02, 2013, 05:09:47 PM »
In the middle of dealing with waiting for my visa paperwork to be approved in China so I can finally go to the Chinese Consulate and get the visa. Hopefully on my way to China by the end of the month.

My question is about using TSA locks for travel to Chins and within China. For those unfamiliar with them, they are suggested for luggage because the TSA (U.S. Transportation Security Agency) can open them for baggage checks without rendering them unusable. I haven't traveled abroad in years so I don't know whether airport security people in other countries open them the same way the TSA does, with a special pick.

I have one on my carryon bag and was thinking about buying another one or two, since I will probably use a second suitcase as well for the big schlep.


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Re: TSA Locks
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2013, 06:15:32 PM »
I'm sure baggage handlers worldwide have the keys to those. bibibibibi

If you fly straight from the USA to China, then China isn't  likely to need to force open your bag, since they can just make you do that at Customs if they feel like it.

Flying through anywhere before arriving in China (or having a connecting flight inside of China would make your baggage fall into "we may want to search it" category, so you might end up with broken locks.
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Re: TSA Locks
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2013, 01:56:43 AM »
I have had the Chinese staff at check-in/customs (can't remember which) put security tape over all locks/openings on the suitcase.  This was for travel within China. 
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Re: TSA Locks
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2013, 03:30:03 AM »
I had TSA locks on my carry on and checked bags when flying between Korea and China a few times about a year ago.  Once after boarding the plane, I was politely asked to provide a key for the locks to a checked bag because it had been scanned and contained 2 aerosol cans (deodorant).  The limit is one can for each checked bag for that particular airline.  I think it was China Southern.  I was shocked that they even asked for a key and didn't just rip into the bag.  They promptly returned the key. 

Re: TSA Locks
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2013, 10:22:28 AM »
Thanks for the replies to date: To clarify, I'm flying to Haikou, Hainan. I'll be flying nonstop from the U.S. to either Beijing or Shanghai, going through Immigration & Customs there, then connect to domestic flight to Haikou.

BTW TSA locks are combination, set by the user. There's a keyhole-like slot on the bottom which is where the security people are supposed to use their special key to open the lock if they want to see the contents.



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Re: TSA Locks
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2013, 08:04:34 PM »
Never been an issue here for me.
What's gonna end up happening is that they will treat them as any other locks in the business, for better or for worse.
They do tend to scan luggage right after to check it in so that that there's minimal time wasted hunting down a someone for an extra deodorant in their bag.
It also depends on where you're flying. The strictest checks i've seen were in Urumqi where i had to take out a bottle containing sand for them to analyse
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Re: TSA Locks
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2013, 11:13:48 AM »
I figure a locked bag just signals to the baggage handlers there's something inside they may want.
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Re: TSA Locks
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2013, 09:05:02 PM »
I've used TSA locks since they came out.  The only time I have ever seen them open our bags was when we moved to China on 2010.  Mrs. Casey had a bag with some costume jewelry in her bag.  I noticed a TSA agent opened her bag and pulled it out.  She looked opened it up, looked at it for a second, put it back and relocked it.  She was probably making sure we weren't trying to smuggle stolen jewelry out of the country.



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Re: TSA Locks
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2015, 06:30:38 AM »
Might be an old thread - travelled via the US to Ecuador - and used zip ties (as advised on a site somewhere) - TSA can cut them off if they need to get in and left a note with extra ties incase they did ;)
At least i knew that they'd opened them (which they had) :D
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Re: TSA Locks
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2015, 06:09:56 PM »
TSA locks are great. While still complying with airline regulations, they are a very secure way of locking your luggage. Plus it's not like you can just... buy...

Might keep looky-loo's out though.