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On the TSA website, their "tips for packing your checked baggage" twice emphasizes that you shouldn't over-pack your bags:

Avoid over packing your bag so that the screener will be able to easily reseal your bag if it is opened for inspection. If possible, spread your contents over several bags. Check with your airline or travel agent for maximum weight limitations.

and

Avoid over packing so that your articles don't spill out if your bag is opened for inspection.

How common is it for baggage inspectors in the US to open bags and rummage around deep inside? What happens if you have a bag packed to bursting and they're not able to easily close it after inspection?

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You might find this answer interesting. It doesn't cover what happens when TSA rifles through your property, but it does offer an interesting take on how to (among other things) at least ensure that when your bag is searched, it is done with you present. –  todofixthis Dec 13 '11 at 21:15

1 Answer 1

I have found that my bag is inspected about 1/4 to 1/3 of the time. However, I'm often carrying 'trigger' materials like books, or closely packed chocolate or food. Supposedly, these show up on the xray or other scanning devices as matching densities of dangerous materials. When TSA inspects a bag, they're supposed to place a flyer in the bag.

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Yes, the TSA flyer is important... Without it I wouldn't even notice that my bag was inspected... But that probably depends on the packing style :) –  Anonymous Dec 15 '11 at 10:24

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