How to Set TSA Lock on Suitcase: Easy Steps

Going on a trip but worried about how safe your luggage really is? A TSA lock is the answer! Travel Sentry® Approved locks, or TSA locks, allow you to secure your belongings while travelling. They also grant TSA officers convenient access at the airport for inspection without damaging your luggage.

If you have luggage at home with a TSA lock, stay tuned and find out everything about it, including its importance and how to set the TSA lock the right way.

Types of TSA Locks

TSA locks come in many sizes and forms. With so many options available, it's easy to be overwhelmed when choosing the right one. Below, we will explore the most common types of TSA locks so you can find the perfect fit for your travels.

  • Built-in luggage locks are a convenient option for travellers who prefer a streamlined look and do not want to carry a separate lock. These locks are integrated directly into the suitcase, typically near the zipper. Some come with a centre slider, while some have it on the side.
  • Combination locks. A popular choice among travellers as it is easy to use and available in many sizes.
  • Key locks are more traditional travel locks and generally offer more security than the usual combination lock, as you need a key to unlock them. However, they're also the only way to open your lock, so you need to keep track of them while travelling.
  • Smart locks are more advanced travel locks that you can unlock with a key, combination, or even through a smartphone. They are super versatile locks that sometimes come with tracking and alert features.

Is a TSA lock necessary for International travel?

Initially, TSA locks were developed for the United States only. However, over time, many international security agencies have also adopted this type of lock. While TSA locks aren't mandatory for international travel, they can be super convenient.

Upon check-in at the airport, you must undergo a screening process where security officials may inspect your luggage. If your luggage is locked with a non-TSA lock, security may have to cut it off forcefully to access your belongings. Unfortunately, this can leave your luggage unsecured for the rest of your journey. The same problem can arise when you are landing at your destination!

To provide an alternative, the TSA has worked with several companies to develop a special lock. These locks can be opened by airport security officers with universal keys, and the TSA lock is one of them.

Using a TSA lock, security officials can unlock and relock your luggage without damaging it. At the same time, no one else can access your luggage without the right combination code. These locks have a universal master key available only to security agencies.

How to set TSA lock

Key locks do not use a combination to unlock; they just use a key, so we will exclude them from this section. On the other hand, built-in luggage and combination locks allow you to set your own personal code for secure travel.


Before we dive into the setting process, check if your TSA-approved lock has these three main parts:

  • The dials.
  • Reset button.
  • Locking mechanism.

If they are all present, then it's time for you to know how to set a TSA luggage lock:

  1. Check the dials and adjust them to the default preset code. The combination is usually 0-0-0 or if it has been changed before, adjust to that preset code.
  2. Once you’ve confirmed the preset code, locate the reset button. It's a small, hidden button or hole on the lock's body. Get a pointed object like a pen or paperclip to press it.
  3. Hold down the reset button and set your desired combination. For example, 5-4-1.
  4. Release the reset button, and voila! Your personal combination is now set.
  5. Test your new combination to see if it works. If not, repeat steps 2-4 again.


To set a padlock-style TSA lock, follow these instructions:
  1. Check the dials and turn it to the default preset code. It's usually 0-0-0 for three-digit locks and 0-0-0-0 for four-digit ones. But if it has been changed before, adjust to that preset code.
  2. Once confirmed, look into the shackle. You'll see a notch 90 degrees counterclockwise of it.
  3. Pull the shackle, turn it into the notch, then hold it.
  4. Set your desired combination and release the shackle. Your combination is now set.
  5. If successfully set, the shackle will easily enter the locking mechanism. If not, follow steps 2-4 again.

A TSA lock is always a great idea!

If you want to ensure your luggage is safe at all times, and won’t be damaged during random luggage checks, a TSA lock is the way to go. Look for high-quality luggage that has a TSA lock built in, for the best security and a smooth travel experience. Explore Eminent’s range of luggage with TSA locks today.