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What is a TSA Approved Padlock?

When traveling our baggage is often not by our side and out of sight as it travels a long airport chutes to the aircraft hold. Even on bus and coach journey's luggage usually resides in the belly of the vehicle as we motor to our destination. On cruiseships and in hotels bags and cases will often journey to rooms without us being in attendence.

To keep belongings and valuables safe the basic security precaution of using a padlock can stop wondering hands getting hold of them.

If you are going to be travelling by air you don't want to use just any travel padlock. You should use a Travel Sentry (TS) Approved padlock.

What is a TSA Approved Padlock?

There is in fact no such thing as a TSA Approved padlock. It is a phrase that has entered everyday use and which is more commonly used that the correct phrase TS Padlock. The two phrases refer to one and the same thing.

A TS Approved luggage lock refers to a padlock that meets the requirements of the Transportation Safety Administration TSA. The TSA is an agency of the US government which sets the standards which the travel padlocks must meet.

Travel Sentry is one of two independent organisations which oversees the manufacturers and sellers to ensure that the locks that they produce and sell meet the requirements of the TSA.

As the TSA is a government department it doesn't Approve or Disprove the padlocks, it sets the standard that they must conform to.

A TS Approved lock can be opened by security officials when the need to check your luggage. The TSA agents have master keys which enables them open the TS Approved padlocks and then relock them after inspection.

What do the locks look like?
There are many different designs TS Approved padlocks which come in a range of colours but they have one thing in common. They all carry the TS logo which is a unique red diamond shape.

The most popular type of TS Approved padlocks are combination padlocks and these will have a special keyhole which enables security officials to use the master key. Unfortuantely, this master key is not available in case you forget your combination so the code needs to be kept in a safe place. Taking a picture of the numbers of your smartphone is a good way of keeping a safe record.

As TS Approved key locks already have a key hole they do not need an additional keyhole for the master key.


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