What is TSA Friendly Locks in Travel Bags?

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Written By Cecilia Camille

I'm a mother of four and a writer who loves to blog, write, and be involved in online communities. I have experience with parenting as well as technology-related work. In fact, I've always been interested in how technology impacts the world around us.

TSA Friendly Locks are locks that have been approved by the Transport Security Administration. TSA-friendly locks are also known as Travel Sentry Approved locks and have a small, easily visible Red Check Mark on the lock body. If your lock does not have this mark, it is not TSA friendly. Putting a TSA-friendly lock on your travel bag will help you avoid an inconvenience or delay at security checkpoints at airports and other transportation hubs.

The TSA introduced a lock standard in 2003, but the program was voluntary. Now, however, the locking systems required to be accepted are mandatory. Know that if your travel bag does not use TSA-approved locks and you have any problems at security checkpoints at airports or other transportation hubs, you may be responsible for paying for the removal of your locks and either re-locking your bags or having a new lock put on them.

TSA-friendly locks can be used to lock the zippers of your luggage together and are often used in combination with a cable lock. Cable locks are also TSA-approved, but only if they have an easily visible Red Check Mark on the lock body. The cable lock is used to tie your luggage case to an immovable object such as a security post or anchor point at an airport or transportation hub. This is helpful for larger pieces of luggage, such as suitcases, that are cumbersome and difficult to handle alone.

Travel Sentry is an organization authorized by the TSA to confirm that products, such as locks, are compliant with TSA regulations. Travel Sentry has its own mark, which features a large Red Check Mark on an orange background. Products with this mark are also TSA-approved and can be used alongside a standard TSA-approved lock.

Travel Sentry is so concerned about security issues that it takes unannounced inspections of products that claim to be TSA-friendly. Those who pass the inspection receive the Red Check Mark. If a product does not have this mark, beware that it is not approved by TSA and could result in problems at security checkpoints at airports and transportation hubs.

The approval process for Travel Sentry ensures a higher level of security for you when traveling because you know your lock will adhere to TSA guidelines.