How do I troubleshoot TSA locks?

Written by liz tomas
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How do I troubleshoot TSA locks?
TSA locks are used on luggage and can be opened by airport security. (luggage in hotel room image by Albert Lozano from

TSA locks were designed by the Travel Security Administration. These locks can be opened by inputting the correct combination or they can be opened with a master key held by airport security officers. If a security officer needs to check the interior of your luggage and you have a different lock, it will be cut off. Troubleshooting consists of resetting the lock combination. This allows you to unlock the lock if you forgot the combination and fix the lock if it is not working properly.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Align the dials so each one reads zero. This is the preset for new locks but also is used to reset the combination on used locks.

  2. 2

    Pull up the lock shackle and rotate it 90 degrees. Press the shackle down firmly.

  3. 3

    Set the new combination while holding the shackle down. The numbers that align with the red lines will be your new combination. Do not release the shackle until all numbers are aligned.

  4. 4

    Release and pull up on the shackle. Place the shackle back into its locked position. If the shackle will not lock because of the new combination, move one of the number dials and the shackle will lock.

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