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US baggage screening

Since January 2003, the US Transport Security Administration (TSA) has been authorised to screen all baggage going through commercial US airports in order to ensure luggage security.

This process includes a baggage x-ray. When flying to or from the US you may also notice your baggage is opened during checked baggage screening, before being resealed with a tamper evident label. When this happens, a notice will be placed inside your bag telling you that it was opened for inspection by a TSA official.

The TSA recommends you leave your bags unlocked to make them easier to search. We disagree with this policy.

To avoid damage to your baggage, you can buy special TSA-approved locks which can be opened by security officials with a master key. The locks can be bought from luggage shops at most airports. You can also check the TSA website for more information.

Alternatively, we recommend you report any damage or loss of items incurred during the TSA’s screening process via a claim on your insurance policy.

If the matter isn’t resolved to your satisfaction, you can also contact the TSA Consumer Response Centre on 1-866-289-9673, where your case will be assessed on an individual basis. Further information is available on the TSA website at

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