TSA Baggage Inspection

Female Abroad

Sometimes when I collect my checked luggage at the airport, something seems a little off... normally it is that the zippers are not locked into place like they were when I checked it. If I'm headed through the states I know that can only mean one thing - TSA has opened my bag. Normally you will get a little pamphlet shoved somewhere into your bag to let you know that they have searched it. If you do see one of these, it's not big deal either you had something that showed up oddly on the X-ray scanner and they wanted to check it out, the drug dogs seemed oddly interested in it, or it could be a random search. There is no need to rip open your bag right then and there in the airport unless you are really worried that someone could have stolen something. If you are worried about that then it shouldn't have been in your checked luggage in the first place.

If you have not received one of these white, single page, double sided pamphlets before they look say:


To protect you and your fellow passengers, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is required by law* to inspect all checked baggage. As part of this process, some bags are opened and physically inspected. Your bag was among those selected for physical inspection.

During the inspection, your bag and its contents may have been searched for prohibited items. At the completion of the inspection, the contents were returned to your bag.

If the TSA security officer was unable to open your bag for inspection because it was locked, the officer may have been forced to break the locks on your bag. TSA sincerely regrets having to do this, however TSA is not liable for damage to your locks resulting from this necessary security precaution.

For packing tips and suggestions on how to secure your baggage during your next trip, please visit: tsa.gov

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation. If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to contact the TSA Contact Center:

Toll-free telephone: 1.866.289.9673

Direct telephone: 571.227.2900 (U.S.)

Email: TSA-Contact [email protected]

*Section 110(b) of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001, 49 U.S.C 44901 (c) - (e) TSA-OSO Form 1000 (Rev. 1-13-2010)

Smart Security Saves Time

I would say about one out of every three trips I take into the US or crossing through the US, I receive this note. It is one of the reasons why I always make sure that I either buy locks that are TSA compliant or luggage that has a TSA compliant lock built in. Normally they do not relock the built in suitcase locks but they do relock the standalone locks. When they check also always seems to be one side of my suitcase and not the full thing and it's usually the part with the dirty clothes and booze.

For me personally I think that what triggers them is that my husband and I usually share one suitcase and the legal limit is 1x 1L of alcohol per person so when you have two bottles in the suitcase, it looks like we are over. Or our dirty clothes really attract the dogs.... who knows!