The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported it screened over 10 million passengers between July 1 and July 5, setting a new record during the pandemic. And while many travelers are focused on staying safe by wearing a mask on the plane, protecting your personal belongings is important, too. One way to do so is by using a luggage lock, which adds an extra layer of security to your bag and the contents inside. As Americans continue to get vaccinated and countries across the world ease Covid-19 travel restrictions, the number of people traveling by air continues to increase, and so may be prioritizing these safety measures.
According to the TSA, travelers can use any lock they’d like on their luggage, but only some locks are TSA-accepted models — locks specifically developed to ensure they can be opened by TSA officers. TSA states it “has been provided universal ‘master’ keys under agreements with Safe Skies Luggage Locks and Travel Sentry so that certain branded locks may not have to be cut to inspect baggage,” and you can find each company’s logo on approved locks.
TSA-accepted models come in a variety of models, from key locks to combination locks (the latter feature a slot for those universal “master” keys). You can use the locks on checked or carry-on baggage like luggage, backpacks, duffel bags and more. Some brands also sell luggage with TSA-accepted luggage locks built into the top or side of the bag.
To help guide your shopping for lock-safe luggage and travel, we rounded up a handful of TSA-accepted luggage locks, as well as suitcases with built-in, TSA-accepted locks from brands like Away, Master Lock, Samsonite and more.
Best TSA-accepted luggage locks
Forge’s TSA-accepted combination locks allow you to set a three-digit combination and feature a red open alert indicator that pops up on the lock if it’s been opened by a security officer. TSA agents have to relock the lock, helping ensure your bag stays secure after it's been inspected. Locks can be purchased individually or multi-packs, and come in colors like Black, Blue, Silver, Green and Orange.
Safe Skies TSA-Accepted Padlocks come in a set of four. Each lock and key set is a different color to help you distinguish between them. Locks come with two keys each. You can also purchase a four pack of Safe Skies padlocks in a singular color: Black, Grey or Red.
Also from Safe Skies, these three-dial locks allow you to set your own combination. The locks come in a set of two, and they’re available in colors like Black and Yellow. You can also buy a set with one padlock and one combination lock.
Samsonite’s luggage strap adjusts to fit bags up to 72-inches wide and its ABS buckle is designed to withstand being constantly handled. The strap features a three-dial lock that allows you to set your own combination. The strap is available in colors like Orange Tiger, Black and Ultraviolet.
This lock comes in two styles: word combination and numeric combination. It has an extended reach steel shackle that sits flush against suitcases. You can purchase the locks individually or as a set of two.
Best luggage with built-in TSA-accepted locks
One of the best carry-on suitcases, Away’s The Carry-On and The Bigger Carry-On both feature a built-in Travel Sentry combination lock, as do many of the brand’s other luggage options. The Carry-On is designed with a polycarbonate outer hard shell, spinner wheels and an interior compression system that helps you fit clothes and other items. The Carry-On can be purchased in colors like Sand, Blush, Black and more, and you can opt to buy it with or without an ejectable USB charger.
Samsonite’s Freeform Medium Spinner has a built-in Travel Sentry combination lock and an ID tag. It’s designed to be lightweight and durable, and offers pockets and dividers to help you organize while packing. The suitcase is also expandable and features four wheels. It comes in six colors ranging from Silver to Sage Green.
Also featured in our carry-on luggage roundup, this option from CALPAK is lightweight — 7.1 pounds — and it’s expandable for up to an extra 2-inches, which translates to TK square inches more. The carry-on features a Travel Sentry lock on its side, and each corner of the bag is reinforced with aluminum protectors. It also has an adjustable height trolley, 360-degree spinner wheels and an interior divider with pockets, as well as compression straps. The carry-on is available in three colors: Trnk Black, Nude and Grey.
This expandable suitcase from Swissgear offers added safety due to its built-in Travel Sentry lock and additional organization thanks to its internal pockets and clothing straps. The suitcase also features a push-button steel locking telescopic handle, and four 360-degree wheels. It’s available in four colors: Black, Lime, White and Orange/Blue (currently out-of-stock).
The Tasmania Large Spinner comes with a built-in three-dial Travel Sentry combination lock. It’s currently in stock in Purple and Black, and also comes in Navy and Brown. The suitcase is constructed from a polycarbonate outer shell and has two interior zippered mesh pockets, as well as a center zippered pouch. It’s expansion gusset offers 25 percent more packing capacity according to the brand, and the bag features a side carry handle in addition to a multi-stage push lock handle system.