PDA

View Full Version : Lock suitcase or not if state bound?


nivsy
3rd Feb 2006, 12:35
Flew with TED/United a couple of weeks back. On return leg when checking in with TED at Vegas enroute Chicago then LHR to connect with BMI to GLA. Rather unfriendly checkin person told us all to take away the pad locks and use plastic ties to secure the bags so that if after security scan they wanted to rummage. United said this was now policy for all USA flights. Is this true? Naturally the operator and come to that BMI never informed us of this. Just curious.


Nivsy

sixmilehighclub
3rd Feb 2006, 12:59
My bag went missing inbound from Washington a couple of years back. It was delivered 24 hours later, the lock smashed (suitcase now unusable as a result) and the contents had been turned upside down. Why they felt the need to open a sealed seethrough pot of body moisturiser and then not close it properly (wrecking about £200 worth of goods) is totally beyond me.

A note was enclosed to explain why my case was opened, at least i think that what it said, the moisturisor had soaked through it and it was in pieces.

Ex-ray wouldn't have encouraged them to check it, it contained clothes, shoes, cosmetics and candy bars.

Unfortunately I couldnt claim for any of the damage, from anyone.

slim_slag
3rd Feb 2006, 13:14
There are TSA approved locks which the TSA can open as they have some master keys. What do you expect them to do if they see something that they think needs further investigation and it's got a lock on it? Just let it go through and put it in the hold? Places in the world where they will not break a lock need to improve their security.

Red Snake
3rd Feb 2006, 14:02
Never lock a suitcase on any airline in any country. Your case will be opened!

nivsy
3rd Feb 2006, 15:02
I really did not know that cases are supposed to be kept unlocked. Must say - bet the insurance companies like that - one wonders what one does when trying to submit a claim. "you mean your suitcase was unlocked sir?" Oh well maybe i am just being sceptical and all baggage handlers are angels.


Nivsy:rolleyes:

flybhx
3rd Feb 2006, 15:32
I'm more concerned about some unscrupulous character being able to put something IN my bag rather than security checking it.

PaperTiger
3rd Feb 2006, 17:04
United said this was now policy for all USA flights. Is this true?Yes.
The TSA will (or at least is supposed to) Xray all checked bags and open and examine any containing unidentifiable or suspicious(sic) items. As mentioned, you can get TSA-issue locks which they are supposed (again) to lock after any exam thus protecting your bag from non-TSA personel.
Or you can simply leave your checked bags unlocked - in which case do not put anything of value in them (a wise precaution anyway IMO).
Or you can use your own locks and risk the TSA breaking them and/or your bags. Also as mentioned, you have no claim to the airline or the TSA should they do so.
Happy trails :(

christep
3rd Feb 2006, 18:12
Never lock a suitcase on any airline in any country. Your case will be opened!Curiously, I travel about 50 flights a year, including probably 15 into, out of or around the USA. I always lock my cases (all of which predate TSA approved locks), and I have never had them opened or tampered with. Personally I reckon the chances of TSA smashing their way in in a way that leaves the case unusable or damages contents are far lower than the risk of pilfering or planting of something if I leave it unlocked.

apaddyinuk
3rd Feb 2006, 18:42
As cabincrew, we are told to ALWAYS lock our suitcase. The TSA are aware of this proceedure of ours and in some airports our suitcases are either scanned in front of us by the checkin area so that we can open it for them if they want us to or they will come to the aircraft and ask us to open it there for them.
However, I have your typical Delsey suitcase with the latch on the front with a combination. These (and the likes of the samsonite ones) are really handy as the TSA know how to open these. I have regularly found a little note in my suitcase saying that it has been searched by the TSA. However recently I found a great big mark by the latch where it had obviously been forced open...again a note left by the TSA!!! I think some airports are just more careless than others!!!

Final 3 Greens
3rd Feb 2006, 20:06
If the TSA can open a case, then so can a whole bunch of undesirables.

Its not whether someone can open your case, it whether they leave any evidence of having done so that is more important.

Think about it......

PaperTiger
3rd Feb 2006, 21:47
If the TSA can open a case, then so can a whole bunch of undesirables.
Its not whether someone can open your case, it whether they leave any evidence of having done so that is more important.
Think about it......I have and... what's your point ? :confused:

apaddyinuk
3rd Feb 2006, 22:15
At the end of the day a suitcase is just a flimsey piece of plastic or fabric which can easily be opened if someone wants to place something in it! Its making sure that these people dont get employed by the agents/airlines that matters...GOOD LUCK!LOL!

bealine
3rd Feb 2006, 22:27
The TSA can be bloody-minded over this issue!

We have (sorry, had) a Samsonite Oyster hard case with a built-in combination lock. As it tended to open involuntarily if left unlocked, I spun the tumblers and sellotaped a large note to it "THE COMBINATION IS 0000 IF YOU NEED ACCESS". (Yes - I had even reset the combination to its factory setting!!!!)

On arrival at Houston, the ignorant ba5tards at the TSA (I know it was them cos they kindly left a letter on top of my clothes) had used a saw to cut out the lock!!! Obviously whoever they employed couldn't read English (or couldn't read!)

Don't Lock Your Case!!!

radeng
3rd Feb 2006, 22:35
TSA = Totally Stupid Agency, just as FBI is Famous But Incompetent. Both prove it frequently. But the rule is don't lock your cases in the US. Mrs Radeng unthinkingly locked a Delse case, and it now doesn't lock any more after TSA rummaged through.

The really disappointing thing is they take no responsibility for damaged or missing articles, which to my mind suggests that they are more than happy to have their employees thieving.

shuttlebus
3rd Feb 2006, 22:37
Probably a bunch of jobsworths who use their new found position of power to massage their egos....

Freud would probably have some excellent psycho-analysis verbage to describe this behaviour, but I'm sure most people can guess what it would be (or what they would like it to be, although a certain hand waving gesture would probably suffice:cool:

TSA "approved" locks can be bought in the UK for about £5 from shops like Graham Tiso (camping & climbing gear etc) Fairly funky little combination lock, with a slot for the master key.

Regards,

Shuttlebus

ezyBoh
3rd Feb 2006, 23:10
Having just travelled with United LHR-JFK-LHR with a locked suitcase I had no problems or was l asked to unlock my case on check-in at JFK. The lock used was one purchased at LHR T3 so probably wouldn't have been a TSA 'approved' lock.

In fact I was impressed with immigration etc at JFK, no queues or attitude!

Globaliser
4th Feb 2006, 09:27
I don't think that there are any problems with flights originating outside the US, even if they're going to the US. Locks have always been acceptable and indeed recommended by airlines.

It's only for US-originating flights, where the TSA is responsible for screening, that the TSA recommends that you don't lock your bags because they may want to smash their way inside them if you do. As this includes domestic onward sectors, I take the lock off and change to a cable tie after clearing US customs and before handing the bag back to the relevant airline.

It's really nice to fly from a US station where you can actually lock your bag because it's screened at a point where you can still open the bag for the TSA if they want to get inside it. But it would really be much nicer if the TSA could do what every other country seems to manage to do.

AUTOGLIDE
4th Feb 2006, 11:02
IF there was any intelligence involved with the TSA, all suitcases would be x-rayed at the pre-check-in point where the owner can open it. Damaging people's property is retarded, stupid and just plain idiotic. I'll never understand why the U.S makes getting in/out of it's borders such a hellish experience, personally I hate going there now, I like the country, hate it's airport experience. You can still have security without this level of stupidity.

radeng
4th Feb 2006, 19:05
Some US airports are better than others. Generally, I find getting through Phoenix on the way out takes less time than coming back through Heathrow, the immigration people are friendly and polite without being obsequious, and they're pleasure to deal with. Chicago isn't bad, LAX and MIA are the pits, and ezyBoh is the first person I've heard with a good word to say about JFK!
San Diego used to let you stand there while they X rayed the suitcase, but that's changed a bit. The problem when flying internationally may well not be the US but somewhere else - it's not known as 'Thiefrow' for nothing!
Still, the derogation by TSA of responsibility for damage and theft is disturbing.

PAXboy
5th Feb 2006, 00:37
Paper Tiger ... in which case do not put anything of value in them (a wise precaution anyway IMO). Uummm, where do you start considering your clothing as having a 'value'? Is it when they take your M&S underwear, or when they take your Saville Row suit? If I place a swatch of 24 CDs in my hold case - so that my hand luggage will not exceed permitted weight - is that placing something of value in the case?

Those, such as the TSA, that have the legal right to open suitcases cannot guarantee that every other person in the chain (at least two airports and maybe more if through checked) are going to be well behaved. To then require you to leave the case unlocked ...?

When I lived in Munich, they x-rayed the bag at check-in. In fact, you had the bag and hand luggage x-rayed BEFORE you were allowed to queue for check-in. That was 1998~2000!!! Sensible and practical, the TSA should learn from them.

bealine
5th Feb 2006, 06:18
I don't think that there are any problems with flights originating outside the US, even if they're going to the US. Locks have always been acceptable and indeed recommended by airlines.

It's only for US-originating flights, where the TSA is responsible for screening, that the TSA recommends that you don't lock your bags because they may want to smash their way inside them if you do.

.......It was a flight to the USA originating at Gatwick (CO 5) and terminating in Houston when the TSA destroyed my bag!!!

striparella
5th Feb 2006, 10:27
I've not read the rest of the thread apart from the OP so this is probably a repeat but....

LOCK IT!

Going to the States LOCK IT.

Coming from the States, LOCK IT.

You'll find your airline and your travel insurance will take no responisibility if your bag is unlocked and something goes missing.

The worst that'll happen is the TSA will break your lock.

The TSA are a joke. There's no need for the whole leave your bag unlocked cherade.

PAXboy
5th Feb 2006, 11:11
The worst that'll happen is the TSA will break your lock. ... and not reseal it properly, which then allows your goods to be removed. Since the case was unlocked, your insurance will not pay. Yes, the TSA is a joke but the irritation is that they can legally expose you to loss without any liability to themselves. I agree that I will lock my case the next time I go to the USA and be prepared to argue for a long time about any loss.

What makes it the more irritating, it that the next major attack on the USA is highly unlikely to be through an airliner. 'Security' and military agencies are always fighting the last war.

patdavies
5th Feb 2006, 14:33
.......It was a flight to the USA originating at Gatwick (CO 5) and terminating in Houston when the TSA destroyed my bag!!!


If it was a direct flight then the TSA have not been near your bag on the US inbound flight. LGW screening; LGW baggage handling: Houston baggage handling and US Customs.

The TSA only inspect outbound baggage - there is liitle point in screening for an in-flight bomb after the flight has landed.

If your flight was indirect, then the TSA staff at eaxh US intermediate stop will have screened the baggage before it was placed onto the next flight.

Rwy in Sight
5th Feb 2006, 18:26
Shuttlebus and PAXboy make some very sensible comments. Ever since my mandatory military service in a NATO member Air Force I realized that uniformed officials tend to consider their power as a perk of their jobs.

I heard that the TSA agents are the former private security firms employees who were rehired at a higher paying goverment job. I am not sure if this is true but it makes sence. So they do a sloppy jobs and they don't really care if they ruin people's property -because they have a right to do so and they are accountable for any damage.

I feel that in the area of security goverments want to be seen doing something rather that actually do something effective. So if something goes wrong they can claim we took all the necessary measures...


Regarding pre-screaning in the DELTA Airlines terminal in JFK in 1994 both metal detectors and X-Ray machines were located in the entrances.
Rwy in Sight

PaperTiger
5th Feb 2006, 19:05
Paper Tiger Uummm, where do you start considering your clothing as having a 'value'? Is it when they take your M&S underwear, or when they take your Saville Row suit? If I place a swatch of 24 CDs in my hold case - so that my hand luggage will not exceed permitted weight - is that placing something of value in the case?Perhaps I should rephrase that as never check anything you cannot afford to lose. Theft from bags certainly occurs as does the airlines simply losing it for ever. I have no statistics, but suspect either is a relatively low incidence rate. Doesn't help of course if it's yours.

Most household insurance will cover such losses.

But it was this statement of yours which I did not followIt's not whether someone can open your case, it whether they leave any evidence of having done so that is more important.

malanda
5th Feb 2006, 19:44
The TSA cut off our TSA-approved combo lock, by breaking the zip. Didn't get the lock back.

On a Malaysian domestic flight, another zip was broken.

"Security" is currently costing us a suitcase per trip. It's cable ties for me next time. (Only snag is I need a blade in hand luggage to get it open at the far end)

PAXboy
5th Feb 2006, 21:22
Paper TigerBut it was this statement of yours which I did not follow The quote that you refer to "... whether they leave any evidence of having done so that is more important." was made by Final 3 Greens as the #10 post in the thread.

Final 3 Greens
5th Feb 2006, 21:29
.... and my point is that if anyone has interfered with your luggage, it is far better to be aware of this as soon as retrieving the bag off the carousel.

If one is aware that the bag has bee tampered with then it can be reported to the authorities immediately, for example before clearing customs.

bealine
6th Feb 2006, 11:36
Quote:
Originally Posted by bealine
.......It was a flight to the USA originating at Gatwick (CO 5) and terminating in Houston when the TSA destroyed my bag!!!


If it was a direct flight then the TSA have not been near your bag on the US inbound flight. LGW screening; LGW baggage handling: Houston baggage handling and US Customs.

The TSA only inspect outbound baggage - there is liitle point in screening for an in-flight bomb after the flight has landed.

If your flight was indirect, then the TSA staff at eaxh US intermediate stop will have screened the baggage before it was placed onto the next flight.

I can only restate that the lock was cut, at Houston on an arriving Continental flight from London, by the TSA - this is why a TSA headed letter was placed on top of my clothes explaining that my case had been opened!

Nothing was missing - just irreparable, unclaimable damage to a bl00dy good suitcase!!!

PVGSLF
6th Feb 2006, 13:48
They've got it right at PVG... Bags xrayed on the belt as the bag leaves the check in desk, and the operators ARE awake... 75% of the time I get called to the security room at the end of the row and have to prove my pantomine bomb shaped Hugo Boss is really aftershave and not something more sinister.

skiesfull
6th Feb 2006, 16:09
Buy a combination locking-strap (such as Samsonite) and lock the strap only. If a TSA agent has to open the bag/suitcase, it will be opened with a master key kept by TSA. This works for me as a frequent visitor to the USA, and your bag/suitcase should remain undamaged.

striparella
7th Feb 2006, 21:28
The TSA cut off our TSA-approved combo lock, by breaking the zip. Didn't get the lock back.


This is another example of the stupidity of the TSA.

To get into a zip bag, you don't need to break the lock.

All you need is a pen nib through the teeth and you're away.

RevMan2
8th Feb 2006, 10:57
Don't want to polish FRA's halo, but all Economy checked luggage is x-rayed in a sterile area prior to check-in, with LOTS of bags being opened and physically examined.

Now, if only they'd extend that to First and Business.....

Strepsils
8th Feb 2006, 13:29
Why is it every other country in the world seems able to organize their security without this hassle yet the good ole US of A (who, don't forget, only discovered airport security a little over 4 years ago) are now literally taking a sledgehammer to crack a walnut?!:mad:

America does so many things so very well, but when they get it wrong they get it totally f&%£ing wrong!:mad: :* :hmm:

RevMan2
9th Feb 2006, 07:38
It's the histrionics that get me!

Flew out of LAX to BOS recently and - due to the one-way ticket - was classified as a security risk by check-in. (Executive management, been with the organisation for 40 years, but hey, I fit the potential terrorist profile)
Well, what a hullaballoo. I thought the first guy who saw the SSS on the boarding pass was going to hyperventilate - started bellowing cryptic commands to all and sundry, who came rushing (I mean RUSHING) to prevent disaster by separating me from bags and sundry items of clothing. I'm not kidding - 6 or so people were involved.

Probably went home and told the admiring family that they saved America from the threat of terrorism. Or nucular attack. What do I know.

(Out of BOS wasn't much better - Marine drill sergeant wannabe bellowing convoluted instructions to each and every passenger. How about guidelines in pictogram form?) Jeez.

lexxity
9th Feb 2006, 10:02
Revman2, LAX is appalling for hysterical security staff. Mr Lexx and I were SSS'd due to my being airline staff (huge risk you see) and told to go stand in the naughty queue. I started asking other people who had been sent there if they were staff, etc Turned out that nearly every person in that queue was either current or retired airline staff on nonrevs. The only one who wasn't was a gentleman in his 50/60s who had purchased his ticket through a travel agent and paid cash, his wife had gone through normal security.:confused:

I have no problem being put through additional security, what I do have a problem with is being used to make up numbers*, whilst security potentially miss real threats because they are too busy being rude to SSS pax and causing us to miss flights due to the 40minute wait they put you through before they will deal with you. The staff who have been, apparentely, trained to ignore you when you mention that your flight will be departing soon, are the rudest and most heavy handed I have ever had the misfortune to come across. If I could avoid LAX forever I would, however I have a very good friend who lives there.

* I have asked the TSA at several other US airports and they confirmed that airline staff on duty or pleasure are used to make up the numbers they need to secondary screen.

I find the TSA to be rude, surly and totally out of touch with what it a risk and what isn't. Not impressed.

patdavies
9th Feb 2006, 12:12
Out of interest, what happens to a pax who has checked in in good time, goes straight to security but us delayed by extra screening and therefore miss your flight.

Two points, once through security, the PAX is effectively in no man's land ie airside, but with no flight to go to. Secondly, how does such a PAX actually get hold of their off;loaded baggage and then eventually get to their destination. I can't see many economy holiday PAX having sufficent funds available to purchase a further ticket.

PaperTiger
9th Feb 2006, 16:56
If I could avoid LAX forever I would, however I have a very good friend who lives there.Try LGB; less service but almost (almost !) a pleasure flying in and out of there. SNA is OK TSA-wise but a bit far. Wouldn't recommend BUR though, the goons there are just as bad.

lexxity
9th Feb 2006, 17:04
Pat I have no idea what would happen to a normal pax if they missed a flight due to the pillocks who the TSA employ, luckily when you are nonrev you just go on the next available. Luckily LAX-ORD is a very well served route.

bealine
10th Feb 2006, 08:42
Out of interest, what happens to a pax who has checked in in good time, goes straight to security but us delayed by extra screening and therefore miss your flight.

Certainly this has happened many times at Houston (both TSA screening and Immigration problems) and Continental have always been accommodating to their customers. Usually, CO "Redcoats" are in evidence to reassure the customers that they will be rebooked if necessary. They are not allowed to usher you to the front of the queues or anything like that, but they do liaise to ensure that the CO staff at the boarding gates are aware of the problems!

(It's happened to us twice with CO at Houston - for some sadistic reason, the TSA always pick on airline staff for extra screening!!!)

nivsy
18th Feb 2006, 08:31
Having just passed thru Munich can confirm that security screening of all hold baggage was being taken place as you are in the checkin q. This is a wonderful idea - you are in a q anyhow - ur bag never leaves you - and if they want to open it up you are there to do so. Once again, darei say it, the Germans are ahead of us in logical operations!:*

Captain Rat
27th Feb 2006, 03:33
VS advise pax to lock bags as the risk of theft is higher than the TSA needing to get in. The TSA approved locks are all well and good but do you really believe only the TSA have keys...dream on...the locks are available to anyone so the baggage loaders etc all have keys a s well, just makes it easier to get in your bags. And yes try and claim from your insurance if you don't lock yor bag...been there, tried that, told to get lost basically. You cant win.