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Locked luggage to and from USA?

England
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Locked luggage to and from USA?

Is it still necessary to leave luggage unlocked when travelling to and from USA please? Can anyone help two seniors who cannot decide whether we need to lock our luggage for the flights both from London Gatwick and then back again from Tampa to LGW.

Help please!

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Stafford, United...
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1. Re: Locked luggage to and from USA?

Normal locks - Ok from Uk to first port of entry in USA. Any internal flights in the USA and coming back you'll need to leave unlocked, get TSA approved locks, use cable ties or risk locking them with standard locks and having the locks removed (cut off).

Denmark
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2. Re: Locked luggage to and from USA?

I would not lock them after this trip one of my bags was checked both to Orlando and even back, dont know why I have this big stroller bag I bought there in December and I didn´t know anything before staring to unpack clothes at the hotel where two wrapped up books where ripped of the paper and then I saw the note from immigration.

When I arravied home there was a new note from boardings they had checked that same stroller bag again, but the other normal suitecase wasn´t checked, how strange was that ? I did not have a locker on any of them

Mutter

New Forest, United...
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3. Re: Locked luggage to and from USA?

Hi Mutter, hope you had a great trip. Don't expect you wanted to come home.

I have seen padlocks on sale in shops(like Boots in the UK)especially for the USA, as they can be opened by security without breaking the padlock.Hopefully they will do it up again after.

Worksop, United...
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for Orlando, Walt Disney World, Kissimmee
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4. Re: Locked luggage to and from USA?

To answer the "How strange is that" question, I offer this:

I was lucky enough a few months back to have a behind-the-scenes tour at an airport (Hong Kong in fact) where, among other things, we saw and had explained to us the baggage screening process.

The X-Ray machines categorise everything they "see" and display on a monitor different materials in different colours. But they are something of a "blunt instrument" and can't, for one specific example, detect (and hence display) the difference between candy bars and semtex, so they come up the same colour. It's then up to the expertise of the operators to decide if the item needs a physical inspection.

Similarly, many electronics items are just opaque. Put, say, a laptop in baggage, and it comes up as a black rectangle with no detail. It means that they can't see through it and have therefore no idea what is above or below it in the case.

Either way, such a bag may well be tagged for a manual inspection. It's all to do with what's in there (as seen by the X-Ray operator). And, unless you are trained as they are, it's quite hard to predict what will interest them. Bundles of electrical wiring (like, a bag of shavers and phone chargers, and so on) don't, for example.

If a bag is flagged for physical inspection, outside the US, they recall the passenger to open the case. TSA in the US, who cover people departing from US airports only (internal or international) don't; they just take whatever steps they need to, to get in the case; including breaking it open if necessary. Which is why the whole question of lock or no, TSA lock etc., applies only to when you board a plane and DEPART from any US airport, to any destination.

Tampa, Florida
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5. Re: Locked luggage to and from USA?

Use TSA-approved locks -- they're good sturdy locks, available in either combination or keyed styles, and are reasonably priced.

They're also available anywhere luggage is sold.

Then you can lock them, TSA can search if necessary, and you can use them for travel to Europe, too.

Denmark
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6. Re: Locked luggage to and from USA?

Hi Giggygirl

No I didn´t want to come home at all. Here is cold, grey weather and one problem after another that needs to be solved, much better on a holiday to just enjoy the moments.

Mutter

Southampton, United...
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7. Re: Locked luggage to and from USA?

Ive always locked mine, and they have never been opened, but last time my partner told me I should'nt lock them, so I tied the zips together with a bit of string so they couldn't unzip, again it did'nt look like anyone had been in there.

Im going to get these new locks that security can unlock without breaking them, their a really good idea.

England
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8. Re: Locked luggage to and from USA?

Thanks for all the comments folks, very interesting and in particular that posted by SCAN60 which I have passed on to others.

This may be our last trip to USA sadly, so I think I will leave the cases unlocked, tie the zips with string as suggested (simple remedy) and just put the name bands around the outside of the cases - they're easy to unlock, more for easy identification than anything.

9. Re: Locked luggage to and from USA?

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