Travelling from Jamaica to France, my friend locked her suitcase. Upon her arrival back in France she discovered her suitcase was destroyed. The TSA had not only opened it, but ripped the zipper off in doing so. She received this note in the suitcase. Sorry I cannot seem to attach the photo.

Does anyone know how and where to make a claim for the suitcase (I suppose more importantly if it is possible!)?

  • You could edit your question to add the text of the note directly. This would then become searchable, which could help future enquirers find this question and its answer(s). Mar 11 '16 at 13:18
  • Was the note this one ? That's standard if they open a bag.
    – mkennedy
    Mar 11 '16 at 17:29

I am sorry for the suitcase but I doubt that you'll get any compensation for this. Basically, TSA is supposed to be able to easily access the content for verification purposes. So if they can't access easily, they might enforce and cause damages. This is why now some suitcases have TSA compliant locks that can be opened by the TSA without causing any damage to the suitcase.

  • 2
    Sadly a TSA lock can also be opened by pretty much everyone else who wants to open it, as it's a single key which is now widely known...
    – Gagravarr
    Mar 11 '16 at 12:54
  • Locks on most luggage aren't going to deter any thiefs, they just keep the bag closed.
    – CMaster
    Mar 11 '16 at 14:38
  • @CMaster it's pretty hard for a baggage handler to get away with stealing a whole bag. Opening it and removing small valuable items is much more likely to succeed.
    – phoog
    Mar 11 '16 at 17:50

No idea if your friend will get any compensation but the way to open a claim is at this website:

Transportation Security Administration Claims

There are 18 airports where TSA does not handle the baggage screening. If your friend transited through one of them, there is a different process, linked from the above page.

On the form itself, they state that it may be up to 3 weeks before the claim is accepted for investigation (you'll get an acknowledgement and control number), then up to six months for a final determination.


You can, and should, file a claim with the TSA, if you believe your bag was damaged by TSA during an inspection. The Instructions on how to file a claim can be found at the TSA Passenger Support Claim page here.

At the bottom of the page is a drop-down list of airports in which private companies do the inspections. If you flew through one of those airports, you'll need to follow the rules for claims for those particular companies instead.

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