My suitcase has a TSA lock. I checked it in unlocked, with the key is inside.

After receiving the suitcase, it's locked. I can not unlock it, because the key is inside.

What should I do? Will the airline unlock it for me if I bring my suitcase to the airport?

  • Don't you have the combination or normal key?
    – Moo
    Sep 13 '17 at 5:19
  • @Moo because the key is inside :D Sep 13 '17 at 8:44
  • @HankyPanky the unedited question said they had locked the TSA key inside, hence my (rather snarky) comment ;)
    – Moo
    Sep 13 '17 at 8:47

You can buy a TSA master key on many websites across the internet - I'm not linking to them as I am unsure as to how legal their purchase is, but as a last resort its an option.


Each TSA lock has a number on the outside (below, TSA 002):

Samsonite lock

  1. Go to a kindly luggage store with the suitcase and ask them if they can unlock it. A key for a suitcase / lock with the same number will unlock it.

  2. Buy a piece of luggage with the same numbered TSA lock and unlock it. Whether you then return the new suitcases is up to your own moral precepts.

  3. Buy a TSA key off eBay

  4. Find someone with a 3D printer to make a copy of the key for you.

  5. Pick the lock. TSA locks are incredibly easy to pick as they often have only 3-4 pins and the tolerances are incredibly poor.

Note that for #1 and #2, there is a comment below that the keys for the TSA are not the same as the keys for the lock. My response here for #1 and #2 is that I assume you have a keyed suitcase (since if you had a combo, you'd simply use the combo). What you'll find is that TSA locks are so poorly made that some jiggling of a key that's not supposed to open it will in fact do so simply because the manufacturers are too cheap to make mastered locks and their tolerances are terrible.

  • 2
    TSA locks are meant to be opened with two keys: the TSA key for TSA, and ordinary keys for everyone else. All TSA002 locks, for instance, can be opened by the same TSA key, but they aren't supposed to all be opened by the same ordinary key, which is what they'd have at the luggage store or with a new piece of luggage. Getting or printing a TSA key would work though, and the lock is likely not hard for a locksmith (or perhaps even a luggage repair place) to pick. Sep 13 '17 at 6:13
  • They aren't supposed to, but the tolerances on the TSA locks are terrible. You can open them with some jiggling even with keys that aren't supposed to work. Picking a TSA lock is absolute the easiest thing imaginable. See Deviant Ollam's YouTube videos on this.
    – RoboKaren
    Sep 13 '17 at 6:21
  • And by jiggling some key that is not meant to open the lock you're effectively moving to your solution #5, so #1 and #2 are still wrong. Sep 14 '17 at 6:11

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