Remember do not lock your suitcases. Not with TSA locks - it's useless.
I may have been casting fate to the wind for the last 20 years, but I never
locked luggage until this year. I never had anything go missing or fail to
arrive - including electronics, checked laptops, ham rigs, you name it.
This year, when taking my $4K HF rig out of the country I decided to buy TSA
locks to lock it inside my suitcase. I also locked the 2nd suitcase that had
my paddles, laptop, clothes, and other miscellaneous items in it. The luggage
arrived safely in the Caribbean. On return to the USA, the bags were hand
inspected at the AA counter and then I relocked them.
When I arrived back in the USA, both bags were still locked but several items
had been stolen out of the 2nd suitcase. Rig was intact, laptop still there
(surprisingly) but other items were missing.
Lesson learned: The ability for the TSA to open the locks means anyone who has
a key can (and will) pilfer your luggage. The locks are apparently a theft
magnet and I have thrown then away and will be only traveling with unlocked
suitcases in the future. It's pointless to lock them if someone besides me can
easily open them with a master key and steal what's inside anyway.
And in the spirit of the other thread - I've been stopped twice at security
with paddles inside my carry-on. Neither was a hassle, but they did pull them
out, look them over and ask me what they were - once I got the "swab" test
(both of these times were departing Knoxville).
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