All the rules and regulations of the TSA are based on the security and safety of passengers. If all of your items are allowed by TSA then you can take them on the plane otherwise you have to leave them at the airport. After proper checking, if TSA finds checked-in suitcases suspicious they can also check them again and it happens. So, people want to enquire “How often do checked bags get searched”. Generally, it’s a rare thing, TSA just checks them if they have any doubts or if any luggage seems to have some dangerous item inside it and attracts them.
How Often Do Checked Bags Get Searched
There is only a 5% chance for the checked bags to get searched. They just selected some bags randomly and searched them. If don’t put any prohibited or dangerous items in your luggage then no need to worry your luggage will remain safe. TSA uses various scanners to get detailed information about the items that you have packed in your luggage. After proper screening, your luggage will be sent for loading on the plane to reach your destination. Baggage handlers load them in the cargo space and there, TSA agents do secondary screening.
In secondary screening, they don’t check all the suitcases and if they find any luggage unsafe to carry on the plane then they inspect that luggage manually. They mainly inspect the suitcases to make sure that there are no hazardous, flammable, or explosive items in them. On the official website of the TSA, they mention the allowed and prohibited items on the plane in both carry-on and checked luggage so must consider visiting that website while packing your luggage.
You might know that your luggage is also checked by customs on international flights. The main purpose of this check is to make sure that all of your items are allowed in that country. During packing, along with checking the rules of the TSA and your airline, it’s also important to find out the allowed and prohibited items in your destination country. It usually happens that some products are allowed in your country but banned in other countries so packing these items on international tours can cause a problem for you. Pack wisely and read the guidelines of your destination country too. You can simply visit their official website – T.S.A.
How did TSA open the suitcases?
It’s an interesting question because travelers properly lock their suitcases for fear of misplacement of their items. TSA usually recommends using TSA-approved locks because these locks can be opened by using a master key and only TSA officers have that key. In this way, if TSA needs to check your luggage manually they can easily open your luggage by using this master key safely. Another benefit of using a TSA lock is that only you and the TSA person can open the luggage and the items of your luggage will remain safe.
If you use any ordinary lock and TSA has to open your luggage then simply break the lock. It’s very unpleasant because your luggage can’t be locked again. There is also a 100% chance for your items to get misplaced during loading. Always use TSA locks so that your items remain safe.
What happens if I pack prohibited items in my luggage?
During security check, if TSA officers find any prohibited item in your luggage then you are not allowed to take that object on the plane. Some objects are not prohibited on the plane however you have to declare them. If you don’t declare them and TSA finds them then you are also answerable about those items. There are different reasons for the prohibition of all the prohibited items. Some items can’t be too dangerous to carry but are prohibited to minimize the risk of any potential damage. So, when TSA finds the prohibited items, they decide according to the object what they have to do next. Usually, they do one thing from the following:
- TSA simply separates the prohibited item from the luggage and leaves it at the airport or disposes of it.
- If the prohibited item is not too dangerous and you have a valid reason to carry it with you then you have to do some paperwork and then keep it in your luggage. You might have to pay some extra charges but it depends on the airline.
- If you are carrying any illegal item with you and TSA catches you red-handed then you might have to go to jail or you have to pay a heavy fine.
Is it safe to pack precious items in the checked luggage?
It’s good to pack your precious and expensive items in carry-on luggage. Checked luggage can be stolen or misplaced. It might happen that during random checking of your checked luggage, any item falls outside the luggage and gets misplaced so try to keep your costly item in your carry-on luggage it is safer.
Your checked luggage can also be delayed or taken by someone else. When it comes to you, you come to know that your precious item is missing. Must keep your cash, jewelry, passport, and important documents in your carry-on luggage. In my opinion, you should also keep one extra dress, toiletries, phone charger, power bank, and important items in your carry-on luggage so that if your luggage gets delayed you don’t have to face any issues.
Reasons for Checking Luggage
Usually, suitcases are checked by using an X-ray scanner. It’s not possible to inspect millions of bags manually daily However, the following are the reasons for the bags to get searched manually by TSA agents.
- During screening, if any object can’t be recognized properly and airline staff can’t conclude whether this object is allowed or prohibited then they prefer to check that bag manually so that they can clear whether the bag having that item can go in the cargo space or not.
- If any of your item triggers the alarm then they check your bag to remove that object.
- TSA agents can also select some bags manually to check them manually.
However, the following are the items that trigger the alarm during the screening of checked luggage.
- All the spare batteries and lithium-ion batteries are allowed to be kept in the carry-on luggage. They are prohibited to keep in the checked luggage. Also, place your power banks in the carry-on luggage. Try to keep your electronics in the carry-on luggage. If there’s a need to pack laptops in the checked luggage then make sure to charge it fully and turn It off.
- You can indeed pack knives and food in the checked luggage but if they are not packed properly then they can trigger the alarm. It’s good to place your food in the screening bin separately for checking.
- Any explosives, firearms, and hazardous materials will also trigger the alarm and your bag will researched manually. In the same way, E-cigarrates, big lighters, and fuel cylinders can cause problems for you.
Q1: Do checked bags get searched for drugs?
Ans: Yes, TSA can inspect the checked luggage at any time. They have sniffing dogs that can sniff any kind of drug easily. If TSA found any bag suspicious or supposed to have drugs inside it then they manually check that bag. Learn More
Q2: How often does checked luggage get lost when checked?
Ans: There is usually no chance for the checked luggage to get lost during random checking. It might happen How often do bags get lost when checked that the luggage gets misplaced but it gets back after some time? Pack your luggage properly so that its items remain safe during checking.
In conclusion to the question “How often do checked bags get searched”, there is less than a 5% chance of this checking. If you just pack the allowed items with proper packing then there’s no need to worry your luggage will remain safe throughout the flight and TSA might not check it manually.