Subject: Re: Luggage ties
Lucy & Fellow Ziners,

I found the following information just prior to a group trip in March. It's from The Transportation Security Administration, and turned out to be something we needed to know and the airline hadn't told us about.

I bought the cable ties for the whole group, and many of us had our bags opened, inspected and resealed on the return flight. United put a Notification of Baggage Inspection in the bags they opened. They WILL break the locks to get into the bags, if you don't use those cable ties.

Rosemary in Kansas City

LUGGAGE - Unlocking Checked Bags - Transportation Security Administration

TSA suggests that you help prevent the need to break your locks by keeping your bags unlocked. In some cases, screeners will have to open your baggage as part of the screening process. If your bag is unlocked, then TSA will simply open the bag and screen the bag. However, if the bag is locked and TSA needs to open your bag, then locks may have to be broken. You may keep your bag locked if you choose, but TSA is not liable for damage caused to locked bags that must be opened for security purposes. If you are transporting a firearm, please refer to the on Transporting Firearms and Ammunition section at the bottom of this page for directions on locking your bag.

If TSA screeners open your bag during the screening procedure, they will close it with a tamper evident seal and place a notice in your bag alerting you to the fact that TSA screeners opened your bag for inspection.

In the near future, TSA will provide seals at the airport for you to use to secure your bags as an alternative to locks. Until that time, you may want to consider purchasing standard cable ties, which can be found at your local hardware store. The 4 to 5 inch variety cable ties generally work best since they are the easiest to remove at your destination and can be used to close almost every bag with zippers. If TSA needs to inspect your bag, the screeners will cut off the seal and replace it with another seal.