Unlike US, India does not have the concept of locks which can be opened by security (TSA locks) but most major airports scan baggage after check-in (i.e. in the absence of the passenger).

What's the standard response when something is found which requires further examination?

  • 1
    In the US, if they decide to open your bag, they will break the lock or otherwise damage the bag if necessary. Are you asking whether that's true in India too? Or are you asking about the procedures or legal consequences if they discover something prohibited?
    – phoog
    Feb 6, 2017 at 18:21
  • @phoog, The former.. Do they break it, do they call you over the PA system, do they just hold your baggage at the departing airport,etc
    – Akash
    Feb 6, 2017 at 18:25
  • 3
    In China, the bag is scanned while you are getting your boarding pass, the agent won't let you leave the check-in counter until they get the green light. I once forgot about a lighter in my suitcase and my suitcase triggered a red light. I was asked to go into a room where my suitcase was opened and I was told to throw away the lighter. The baggage guy re-scanned my suitcase and I was allowed to go.
    – Michael
    Feb 6, 2017 at 18:36
  • 2
    Some airports in India (notable smaller ones) insist on check-in luggage being scanned upon entry into airport (before check-in). They then proceed to apply a plastic tie on zips or a paper seal on locks. Check-in agents look for this seal on all check-in luggage. If any dangerous goods are found, then the bag doesn't get okayed and passenger can't check it in. For larger airpots (notably Mumbai), I am not sure of the procedure. I guess they call for passenger announcement and then proceed.
    – RedBaron
    Mar 20, 2017 at 3:58

2 Answers 2


I remember a news which says A foreigner caught with a satellite phone on the airport which is restricted in India.

after questioning, the officials found that he was not aware of the restriction and bring it unknowingly. So, they seized the product and let him go without charging any cases against him.

Now your question

It depends.

The priority they give vary from thing to thing.

That is they didn't treat Gold or Cash in the way in which they treat the Satellite phone or bomb. Also it vary when it comes to drugs and such things.

They scan the luggage in the absence of the person and if they have any doubt or found anything, they will call the person and ask him to open the box in front of them.

If they were right, that is anything found as they assumed, they will take the person to the customs office and question you.

The way they question you and the person who question you also depends.

If they found any drug which is prohibited in India, they question you politely because they are not sure whether you are aware of this or not.

If they found you are unaware of it, then further move will depends on the product.

If it is a drug and can't be treated as a medicine in anyway, they will charge a case against you.

If it is some kind of medicine but prohibited in India ( but allowed in the country where you came from), they won't charge any case.

If it was something like bomb or etc., then they may handover you to police along with the product after questioning and further actions will be done as per rules.

If it is some kind of equipment which is banned in India but allowed in the country in which you came from, they may not charge any cases against you ( eg : the satellite phone I mentioned above).

  • The question is more concerned about baggage scan that happens post check-in.
    – RedBaron
    Apr 6, 2017 at 9:55

I imagine that if the custom agents thinks that you are traveling with something dangerous (bomb, poison stuff...), they will dispose of the luggage before asking questions; and serious questions they will have.

If they suspect it is something prohibited but not dangerous, they will probably call you and ask you to personally open the luggage.

This let you decide to declare the prohibited item, and not "lie" to the custom agents; thus maybe just have the item seized (and/or pay a fine) instead of you being taken into custody

(anecdotal) This happened to me last time I returned from Italy (to Canada); I stupidly brought back some ham; I got pulled over at the Canadian custom, and I just told them about it and they throw it away.

  • Sorry for the confusion.. I was talking about the security check when checking in. For customs, they have a crude system in place where they mark suspected luggage with a chalk X, and if you travel through the green channel with a luggage having an X, they'll catch you
    – Akash
    Feb 6, 2017 at 18:42
  • Nope, in Canada (updated answer)
    – Max
    Feb 6, 2017 at 18:42
  • @Akash probably the same thing; they will pull you over and ask you to open your luggage yourself in front of them.
    – Max
    Feb 6, 2017 at 18:43
  • We're looking for answers, not I-guess-that-s. Apr 3, 2017 at 13:15

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