PDA

View Full Version : Should I put a lock on our luggage?


mickeysgal
March 15th, 2009, 10:50 PM
I'll admit it, I've never locked our luggage before. I was looking at Rick Steves website and he sells combination luggage locks that are TSA approved. We're flying internationally for the first time - direct flight - to our cruise port. Should I lock our luggage? Do any of you put a lock on your luggage?

Cruisin' Ron VA
March 15th, 2009, 10:58 PM
I'll admit it, I've never locked our luggage before. I was looking at Rick Steves website and he sells combination luggage locks that are TSA approved. We're flying internationally for the first time - direct flight - to our cruise port. Should I lock our luggage? Do any of you put a lock on your luggage?

Don't put anything in your luggage you can't stand to lose.

TSA locks or any locks will keep a determined thief out of your belongings for all of 10 seconds. Also some of those trusty TSA agents just cut them off anyway. Money down the drain.

If you are flying internationally will the security people on the other end be able to open your TSA locks? I wouldn't count on it.

I have given up on locking my luggage and only pack clothes and personal hygiene items. Everything else goes in my carry on.

If someone wants to steal my underwear then more power to them.

megr1125
March 15th, 2009, 11:00 PM
you can use the TSA locks...you can buy them a variety pf places including target and walmart...(assuming you are in the US)

Be advised however, that even though the TSA has keys to open them, sometimes they will be cut off anyway. A TSA trainer told me that sometimes, in all honesty, the people are too busy, too lazy or the person with the key isn't around and they cut the lock off...

they may or may not reseal them with a cable tie (or your lock)...but they will put a note inside that they opened your bag.

i use cable ties....mainly to keep the zippers together......if someone wants to get into the bag to steal stuff, they will. locks and/or cable ties are deterrants...don't pack anything of value in your bag.

Now...i WILL lock them when getting on/off the ship as the cruise line doesnt care about TSA locks.....

hth...you will get MANY opinions......this is just my experience....but the part about the TSA trainer IS real.....he was FULL of stories about how hard it is to hire and train these people, and how frustrating they can be. yup, it's a thankless job............

flhokie
March 15th, 2009, 11:21 PM
I've traveled throughout the US, Europe and Asia. While I rarely check bags, every time I have to do it, I lock it with a TSA approved lock. If they cut it off, they cut it off, but the way I see it is that it's a deterrant to anyone who might want to take something.

Also, as another poster said, don't put anything of value in checked luggage. Only pack clothing and inexpensive toiletries. Despite the warnings, I still hear of people putting jewelry, electronics, medications, car keys (might not sound valuable, but if your bag is lost how will you get home from the airport if you've parked there), etc. in checked baggage.

chipmaster
March 15th, 2009, 11:37 PM
I'll admit it, I've never locked our luggage before. I was looking at Rick Steves website and he sells combination luggage locks that are TSA approved. We're flying internationally for the first time - direct flight - to our cruise port. Should I lock our luggage? Do any of you put a lock on your luggage?

Funny every since they came out with them TSA locks I've now always used them. They only cost a few bucks and at least make it a bit more difficult for the opportunistic thief. Of course they wont' stop a determined thief so its best not to leave anything valuable in checked luggage.

Imagine its 4am in the disembarkation station and 3000 passengers luggage are neatly lined up. Random petty thief gets in and has 5' before the next round by the security guard. Is he going after the luggage with locks or the one with plastic ties, or the one with no lock or ties.

I never understand people who say it ain't worth it because it doesn't stop the determined theif. I assume they also leave their home and cars unlocked too as any good or determined theif would be stopped by something so easy as that either, right ;)

Globaliser
March 16th, 2009, 10:55 AM
Should I lock our luggage? Do any of you put a lock on your luggage?First of all, the most important piece of advice is that given by Cruisin' Ron VA: "Don't put anything in your luggage you can't stand to lose." Carry on all valuables. In contrast, clothes and stuff like that don't matter, because they can easily be replaced.

However, locking your luggage in some way is always going to be better than not locking it. You just have to comply with any local restrictions.

If you are departing from a US airport, that means either using a TSA approved lock, so that the TSA can in theory (ie, if the wind is in the west and the milk did not curdle) open it without cutting it off - but be prepared for the TSA to be too lazy to bother to find or use the master key; or alternatively using cable ties. Not for nothing does my suitcase have a bag of a couple of hundred cable ties in its outside pocket all the time.

If you are departing from most other airports in the world, the advice is to lock your luggage securely with a good lock of your choice. Only the TSA has a real fetish for opening suitcases. Just about everywhere else in the world manages to screen checked baggage without having to do this as a matter of routine, so you do not need to have a lock that the security screeners can open.If you are flying internationally will the security people on the other end be able to open your TSA locks? I wouldn't count on it.Security screeners at overseas airports usually do not need to open checked baggage, whether it has a TSA lock or not. So it just doesn't matter.

April-in-NC
March 16th, 2009, 11:42 AM
I always travel with a lock on my checked bag, but it is more to hold the zipper closed than any form of theft deterant. :) I also use a luggage strap just in case a zipper would bust. Not only does it hold my suitcase closed, but it is easy to spot the bright colored strap coming across baggage claim.

I agree with the previous posters. DO NOT but anything of value in your checked luggage. All electronics, cameras, jewelry and meds need to stay with you in your carry-on. The airline won't pay to replace them if they get lost or damaged.

cruiserbryce
March 16th, 2009, 01:02 PM
we have TSA locks on our checked bags...not because we dont trust bag handlers not to take anything but b/c with all the moving around worry that the zippers will come undone

Shorex
March 16th, 2009, 01:14 PM
Of course, in some airports (Miami included) you can have your bags shrink wrapped. Watching the wrapping machine in action can amuse and distract small children for a minute or so. Presumably the purpose is to require more time and effort to break into your bags, so the scoundrels will go for the easy target instead.

skf
March 17th, 2009, 11:17 AM
Do not bother with locks, " luggage security " is an oxymoron. You can use electrician's ties from any hardware store to hold the zippers closed. If TSA opened your bag they should have replaced the plastic tie.
Steve

LHT28
March 17th, 2009, 12:07 PM
This has been discussed before but
I always lock my luggage for international flights...
Flying into the USA I use zip ties & lock it before handing over to the porters at the dock
Lock it when we put it out the night before then switch to cable ties at the airport

People say do not pack things you do not want to lose ..well I love my clothes or I would not take them on vacation with me;)

I do take in my carry-on ...medications, laptop, camera, & batteries etc.. jewelry (costume I love it also)

Happy2Cruise4Fun
March 17th, 2009, 05:59 PM
Purchase cable ties like you see at this site.

Example only
http://www.buyheatshrink.com/cableties/cable-ties.htm?gclid=CKjMg8D6qpkCFSIgDQodzwzwqQ

Or go to your local Home Depot or Lowes etc. They should be in the electrical aisle. Purchase colored ones VS the clear or white. Odds of crook have a yellow or pink on them is rare.

Of course as stated if they want my underwear or socks they can have them.

Loblolly_Cruiser
March 17th, 2009, 06:17 PM
I agree with previous posters - Cheap/replaceable stuff goes in checked baggage - camera gear & laptop go with me. I've used the day-glo yellow and orange tie-wraps from Lowe's for years. Never had a problem.:)

So whether they snip your lock, rip your zipper, cut the bag open or just steal the whole darn thing, if they want your stuff they're going to get it. With that said, from my experience your bags stand a lot better chance of being lost by the airline than they do being stolen.:cool:

As often as this subject comes up and as many posts as it rates each time, maybe The Mods should consider posting a "sticky" thread... ;)

ger_77
March 17th, 2009, 11:17 PM
you can have your bags shrink wrapped

It amuses the adults, too. We watched with amazement as people shrink wrapped their luggage, as we'd never seen this before - can you explain why people do this? If the TSA want to go through the luggage, there goes the shrink wrap. We couldn't figure it out, maybe you can enlighten us.

Smooth Sailing! :):):)

greatam
March 18th, 2009, 01:28 AM
I have posted over and over-TSA WILL cut the locks off more times than not. The red bolt cutters lay on top of various airport baggage x ray machines. Don't think they dont use them and frequently. If you fly enough, your locks WILL be cut off.

I have just traveled around the world ALMOST twice in the last 11 weeks (sort about 5000 miles). I have not locked a bag with anything other than a cable tie (bright orange is my preference) for most of the time. I have actually been on 11 different airlines in the last 11 weeks. Bangkok Air (Cambodia airports) wraps your luggage with plastic wrapping straps (free) like they use to wrap overseas shipping boxes.

And in South America, shrink wrap is available at almost every airport. Do I bother??? Heck no. Valuables-computer, camera, passports, medicine, etc. all go in the cabin with me. If they steal my dirty laundry or even my new fancy dress I bought in Dubai, I have travel insurance and also homeowner's which will cover the loss. I send trinkets and important paperwork HOME via the postal service of whatever country I am in if I don't have room in my suitcase.

As someone posted, much more chance of the airlines LOOSING/Misplacing your luggage (especially USA airlines) than someone stealing something.

KAYEF
March 18th, 2009, 01:45 AM
You can buy TSA locks at Target, Radio Shack, Wal-Mart...........most anywhere that sells luggage / locks. I carry an extra one or two in case one gets cut off or I lose it. I also lock my carry-on because sometimes they want to put it away "underneath" (as Horizon does on the small planes).
If my carry-on is locked, I feel better when, upon boarding the ship and before the cabins are ready, they offer to keep your carry-on luggage in a big area so you can go to the buffet without having to deal with it. Actually, I usually hang on to it anyhow!;)
As everyone says, do NOT put anything valuable in your checked luggage. That being said, if your luggage doesn't get to you before the ship leaves the dock EVERYTHING you had in your suitcase becomes more valuable because you have nothing to wear!:eek:

Gonzo70
March 19th, 2009, 04:59 PM
I personally do not lock my luggage. If you have luggage with a zipper, someone can stick a pen in into the zipper and whether the luggage is locked or not they can pry apart the zipper and open up your suitcase in a a couple of seconds without much effort. Best to just not put anything of value in one's suitcase.

skf
March 20th, 2009, 07:14 AM
It amuses the adults, too. We watched with amazement as people shrink wrapped their luggage, as we'd never seen this before - can you explain why people do this? If the TSA want to go through the luggage, there goes the shrink wrap. We couldn't figure it out, maybe you can enlighten us.

Smooth Sailing! :):):)
I cannot explain it, but George Carlin explained about "Stuff". With all your "Stuff" & having spent $175,000 for a spiffy suitcase you do not want it damaged.
Steve

jla418
March 21st, 2009, 01:39 PM
I personally do not lock my luggage. If you have luggage with a zipper, someone can stick a pen in into the zipper and whether the luggage is locked or not they can pry apart the zipper and open up your suitcase in a a couple of seconds without much effort. Best to just not put anything of value in one's suitcase.

Yes, all it takes is a ballpoint pen to open any zippered luggage. The "lock" is really only to keep it from coming unzipped during handling.

I worked at a ticket counter shortly after 9/11 when we still had to search luggage at the ticket counter in front of the customer. A customer and his wife were traveling to the same destination on 2 different carriers. The husband was on the carrier I worked for. When it came time to search his bag, it was locked, and the wife, who had already departed, had the key. The Sheriff's deputy picked up a ballpoint pen off the counter and the bag was opened instantly. The cool (or not so cool, depending on your point of view) thing was that when we were done with the search, we just ran the locked zipper all the way around and back, and the bag was closed back up and no one would have ever known it had been opened.

chipmaster
March 21st, 2009, 10:00 PM
A reason not to put anything valuable in your checked luggage and also to lock it.

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/item.aspx?type=blog&ak=64366493.blog?se=yahoorefer

Cruisin' Ron VA
March 22nd, 2009, 07:28 AM
A reason not to put anything valuable in your checked luggage and also to lock it.

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/item.aspx?type=blog&ak=64366493.blog?se=yahoorefer

It doesnt say if the bags that were opened were locked or not. It sounds like it didnt matter to these guys if they were locked.

As I said earlier do not put anything of value in your luggage.

I seriously doubt with a group of thieves like these guys a locked bag would stop them from wanting to steal, if anything a locked bag would make it more interesting to them and want to break the lock thinking something of value must be inside.

I will continue to leave the bag unlocked and carry anything of value in my carry on.

Kinkacruiser
May 20th, 2010, 05:23 PM
Purchase cable ties like you see at this site.

Example only
http://www.buyheatshrink.com/cableties/cable-ties.htm?gclid=CKjMg8D6qpkCFSIgDQodzwzwqQ

Or go to your local Home Depot or Lowes etc. They should be in the electrical aisle. Purchase colored ones VS the clear or white. Odds of crook have a yellow or pink on them is rare.

Of course as stated if they want my underwear or socks they can have them.

Great idea re the coloured nylon ties. Up till now, I have only seen white or black ones here in the shops, but as we also always use these, I will source out the coloured ones. It's much easier to see if they have been tampered with.

misha1
May 25th, 2010, 03:32 PM
We use the TSA locks..everytime... and have never had them cut off. We know that they are useless in detering determined thieves but the slight added security, esp in hotels/cabins gives us a bit more piece of mind. No valuables or irreplacables are ever left in checked bags. We are not "frequent travelers (maybe 2-3 times a year) and I would never assume that it could not happen to me. I'll keep using them cuz so far so good.

greatam
May 25th, 2010, 04:57 PM
We use the TSA locks..everytime... and have never had them cut off. We know that they are useless in detering determined thieves but the slight added security, esp in hotels/cabins gives us a bit more piece of mind. No valuables or irreplacables are ever left in checked bags. We are not "frequent travelers (maybe 2-3 times a year) and I would never assume that it could not happen to me. I'll keep using them cuz so far so good.

FALSE security!!!

I have posted this many, many times. I LAUGH every time I walk into PHX or JFK. Right on top of the AA baggage scanner thingy is a BRIGHT red pair of bolt cutters. IF the TSA supervisor is NOT available (out to lunch or just "gone" as so often happens), the baggage checkers just cut the locks off and go on about their business. Doesn't matter which airline. NO TIME to find the supervisor. A lot of luggage to check!!!!

You have been VERY lucky!!!

Please use florescent colored/brightly colored zip ties. Not only can you see your luggage a 1/2 mile away, BUT you can tell if TSA has been in your luggage. TSA reseals luggage with creme/grey zip ties. I was a fool and bought the TSA locks soon after they came out. BOTH sets cut off within 6 months. I fly A LOT.

NHBob
May 26th, 2010, 09:56 AM
I've been using TSA locks ever since they became available and have never had one cut off. On the two or three occasions TSA has opened a checked bag they have left a notice in the bag, neatly re-packed it, and re-locked it.

This experience covers check-in at smaller airports such as ALB, MHT and BTV and major ones like ATL, JFK, BOS, MIA, FLL and LAX. Have I just been lucky? Or is it not possible that this is the norm and passengers who have a bad experience are most likely to post on these boards?

One other point: while it has become fashionable to slam TSA, and they do slip up occasionally, I suggest passengers recall how much worse the pre 9/11 rent-a-cops were!

Gsel
May 26th, 2010, 10:32 AM
I completely agree! We have traveled all over the US and from Australia and New Zealand to all over Europe and never had a TSA lock cut off. If they have opened one of our bags, and they often have, they have neatly re-packed it, put their note inside and re-locked the bag. Maybe we have been lucky and I am sure there are "bad apples" out there, and we have come across a few in the search line, on the most part they have courteous and respectful. Give them a break, they have a very tough job, dealing with the general public is NOT fun, I have done it and some people who travel can be very demanding and almost impossible to please no matter what you do. Walk a mile in someone's shoes before you criticize.

greatam
May 26th, 2010, 10:48 AM
I completely agree! We have traveled all over the US and from Australia and New Zealand to all over Europe and never had a TSA lock cut off. If they have opened one of our bags, and they often have, they have neatly re-packed it, put their note inside and re-locked the bag. Maybe we have been lucky and I am sure there are "bad apples" out there, and we have come across a few in the search line, on the most part they have courteous and respectful. Give them a break, they have a very tough job, dealing with the general public is NOT fun, I have done it and some people who travel can be very demanding and almost impossible to please no matter what you do. Walk a mile in someone's shoes before you criticize.

Has nothing to do with "bad apples" or criticizing TSA. Has to do with the amount of luggage that must be checked and the time it must first be on the tarmac in the carts for loading on the plane. There are very strict time frames used to accomplish all the luggage/cargo moving in an airport.

The baggage checkers absolutely CANNOT wait for the supervisor to show up with the key/code for TSA luggage locks. And for the most part, the TSA supervisors are the only ones with the keys/codes. So locks get cut off due to a time factor-it is as simple as that. The baggage checkers can't put the bags aside and wait and wait. The luggage/cargo absolutely has to continue on its path or it doesn't make the plane and wreaks havoc with the schedules.

As I said, right next to or on top of the bag check scanner thingy at the AA area at both JFK and PHX are bright red bolt cutters. They are NOT there for decoration. Both of my TSA locks were cut off within 6 months of purchase. Most who fly a lot (25-50,000 miles or more per year) have had their locks cut off also. Just a matter of the odds.

6rugrats
May 26th, 2010, 11:54 AM
I don't check bags often, but when I do, I don't bother with locks or zip ties. I have no control over whether or not they opened a checked bag, so I don't care if I can tell if they've been in them. I think in the last two years, everytime I've checked a bag, it's been opened, as they always have that TSA paper in them.

Anyone can get a bag open, locked or not, if they want to. Agree with Cruisin' Ron VA; I don't pack anything valuable in a checked bag ever.

Gsel
May 26th, 2010, 12:45 PM
Maybe it is just the luck of the draw! We make a point of getting to the airport early and checking our bags early, perhaps that makes a difference. Sorry, didn't mean to step on anyone's toes.