Transportation Security Administration commonly recognized as TSA is an agency of the United States department of Homeland Security that has authority over the protection, safety & security of the traveling public in the United States. TSA was created largely in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which revealed weaknesses in then existing airport security procedures.
Mainly dealing with air travel, the TSA employs officers for screening passengers and baggage at more than 450 U.S. airports, armed Federal Air Marshals on planes, and mobile teams of dog handlers and explosives specialists. TSA's primary focus and mission is airport security and the prevention of aircraft hijacking.
How TSA works
TSA is a U.S. government entity that screens travelers to ensure safe travel on airplanes. TSA agents require passengers to pass through a variety of safety and security checks, including bag screenings and body scanners, on the way to the gate to board the plane.
All passengers are encouraged to arrive two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight to make it successfully through these screening procedures with enough time to catch their flights. To save time, most screening points use advanced imaging technology instead of traditional metal detectors, to access passengers for foreign or metallic objects. Some passengers might be requested to extra bag checks or pat-down screenings if anything looks amiss.
TSA lock is a TSA-approved luggage lock that can be opened not only by its owner but also by TSA agents using universal ‘master key’ at U.S. airports. By law, TSA agents are allowed to inspect the contents of all checked baggage. TSA agent requires access to baggage without the passenger being present; which they can open, check and relock.
Some TSA accepted locks feature an indicator which will appear red if opened by a master key, so the owner will know that their bag has been accessed and checked.
If a suitcase secured with an ordinary lock is targeted for examination, the TSA will cut open and destroy the lock in order for inspection.
Safety in TSA-Approved locks
If you purchase a TSA lock and notice the presence of a keyhole, but haven’t received a key with your order, then it is normal. The keyhole is intended for use by TSA officials only; they can quickly unlock and re-lock the case with their ‘master keys’.
Also, if TSA officials can access your luggage doesn’t mean that it’s any less safe and secure. Without an official master key or your chosen combination, no-one else will be able to gain entry into your baggage. These locks are made using high-strength materials which are very difficult to break.
Benefits of TSA Locks – Making Travel Easier
The benefits of TSA locks are similar to the advantages of any other padlock – they keep your luggage and valuable items safe & secure. However, the factor that makes TSA-approved locks different is that they allow the appropriate security authorities in the United States to check your bag and re-secure it without you being present and asked to wait for hours at airport till the screening is completed.
Alternatively, if you use any other typical padlock to keep your baggage secure, the authorities may have to cut the lock away entirely in order to access the bags. Also, if officials cannot remove the lock, they may need to damage your expensive luggage to get into the contents and complete their screenings.
Hence, all passengers are encouraged to use TSA approved lock to save time and hassle and unnecessary damage at airport.