For the past ten years since our world was torn upside by terror in the skies travelers have had to make one adjustment after another when flying with commercial carriers. Personally I think the whole take off your shoes thing is just yucky- I seldom wear socks and really dislike standing on a dirty airport floor. If you have ever had your luggage hand inspected – at the end of a long trip you know that the job of the TSA screener is no picnic either. I actually warned one when she pulled me aside pre-boarding to go through my suitcase that had been with me for two weeks and was packed full of smelly dirty undies and clothes I had been wearing to work out in every night.
Inconveniences aside the toughest thing many of us have had to adjust to is the loss of any feeling of security about what we pack in our luggage. Until recently you could not under any circumstances lock your checked bags. Finally the luggage manufacturers and the TSA have changed that. There are new locks that come standard on new luggage and you can get little zipper locks that have the new TSA mechanisms. This is how they work. You have a combination lock – you set your lock to your combination and pack and lock your bags as always. If the TSA needs to get into your bags- they have master keys to do so. How will you know if they have opened your bags? This is the brilliant part- if a TSA key has opened your bag then you will have a little red button that will indicate the bag has been unlocked. When you then unlock the bag using your combination the TSA indicator will reset.
Why did it take 10 years to come up with something like this? I don’t know but I am pleased as punch as it means that I can lock my bags again. Locking them may not deter a hard core thief but it usually manages to help keep my bag together in one piece during the rough and tumble handling processes and it allows me to lock things up inside my bags when I am staying at a hotel that does not have a safe.
For a great source for TSA locks that work with all kinds of luggage including oversized sports bags along with new suitcases with built in locks – Shop at eBags! I treated myself recently to two new ultra-light hard side bags which work great for keeping my luggage weight under the 50 pound limit and are tougher than soft side bags. I really like the Samsonite and Heys bags – lots of bright colors to stand out in line and nice wheels to make rolling them a breeze. The built in locks add a nice layer of security.