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ROAD & TRAVEL Travel Safety: How to Lock Your Luggage

71% of travelers don't know they can lock their luggage

Seventy-one percent of U.S. adult air travelers don't know they can lock their checked baggage on commercial flights, according to a recent study. Nearly half of adult air travelers also say they would feel more comfortable about the security of their personal items if they could lock their checked baggage. The results suggest that in the aftermath of 9/11, stricter security regulations and recurrent terrorist threats, many air travelers don't know what they can do to ensure their bags are more secure.

"This poll clearly reveals that many travelers still believe they can't or shouldn't lock their checked bags," said Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Spokesperson Greg Soule. "We encourage passengers to protect their personal items by securing their bags with TSA accepted and recognized locks which are available at many retail locations."

The also survey revealed that 23 percent of commercial airline travelers aren't sure whether or not passengers are allowed to lock checked baggage on commercial flights, and 47 percent incorrectly believe they are not allowed to do so. Additionally, 48 percent say they would feel more comfortable about the security of their personal items if they could lock their checked luggage.

Luggage lock creator Travel Sentry has partnered with the TSA, manufacturers and distributors to develop a standards-based locking system that travelers can use to secure their luggage while still enabling TSA security officers to inspect bags as necessary. Travel Sentry approved locks open with special tools that are used by TSA security officers at U.S.-controlled airports (as well as U.K. customs officials at London area airports). This design eliminates intentionally broken locks and damaged bags while retaining access for TSA officers and travelers.

"With the number of constantly changing threats, security guidelines, and global events, it's no wonder air travelers are confused about how to approach luggage security," said Travel Sentry President Joel Blumenthal. "Travelers will be relieved to know it is okay to lock their bags again."

One example of a Travel Sentry approved lock is Brookstone's EasyCheck One-Touch Luggage Lock ($20) that opens with a simple touch and is guaranteed TSA inspectable. In fact, if your lock is ever cut from your luggage, just take it into a Brookstone store and they'll replace it for free.

Look for this Travel Sentry logo on TSA-approved locks

Internet luggage site eBags also offers the Lewis N. Clark 4 Dial Combination Lock ($10) that comes in a variety of bold colors and offers four dials for added security. The Lewis N Clark 4 Dial Combination lock is guaranteed for one year.

Whichever lock you choose, simply make sure that it carries the Travel Sentry logo, guaranteeing that it can be opened and relocked by TSA.

(Source: Travel Sentry)