Zip tied bags. Check. No knives. Check. Hmmm...

I’ll be on a plane later this month. Of course, I won’t be carrying any knives or cutting tools in my carry-on bag.

But the current advice is not to lock checked luggage. (If it has to be hand-searched, they’ll cut off the lock. Heavy gauge Zip/cable ties are recommended instead.)

Zip ties are fairly easy to remove with a sharp knife or wire cutters. Which I won’t have.

I checked the FAA’s site www.faa.gov and the only cutting tool allowed in carry on baggage are blunt ended scissors, which I don’t have. Even if I bought a pair for the trip, getting a blunt tip in the cable tie loop might be an issue.

So what’s the solution? (Best I can do so far is to tuck a single-edge razor blade in a side pocket of my checked luggage, but that might trigger a hand search.)

Simply buy a knife or single razor blade when you get where you’re going, or borrow one from wherever you’re staying. Problem solved (I hope). Good luck with that.

You could use the zip ties, but not pull them all the way tight. Even if you leave the loop big enough to get your finger into, you still won’t be able to open the suit case.

You could also get one of those luggage straps and just buckle it around the bag.

I’d rather avoid a special stop to buy a knife. Your other suggestion is reasonable, but I’ve got this weird thing about self-sufficiency. I also sometimes need to open my checked luggage right after I retrieve it (to get climate suitable clothes, for example.)

That might be what I do, and it would allow the blunt scissors to work, but zip ties have a way of tightening if the free end is pulled. I’d still need to buy blunt scissors, too.
And on preview, a strap doesn’t address the problem. I want there to be some theft barrier.

This is like one of those brain teasers with a rowboat, a goose, and a fox.

Here’s the answer:

Check in one bag with all your stuff in it, and lock it closed with a cable tie.

Check in a second bag, unlocked, with nothing in it but a scissors.

Bingo, when you arrive, you are fully prepared! :slight_smile:

Alternately, some entrepreneurial type could open up a chain of on-airport scissors kiosks. Step up to the booth, insert $1 into the slot, and you get access to a pair of scissors on a chain.

Cable ties also come in reuseable or releasable styles. They have a tab you press to “untie” them. Check with your local electronics supply house (not at Radio Shack.)

For online order use either term in a search, “re… ties”
Parts Express
Nu-Tek (nice picture here)

BTW, they WILL pick locks if they can. I flew last month with my guitar in a locked hard case (the case fasteners were such that I didn’t think it would stay closed unless I locked it, so I took the risk). When I arrived and opened my guitar case for class that night, I found a pre-printed note from the Federal security folks apologizing for having had to pick my lock, in case there had been any damage.

It was kind of creepy and Orwellian. If they want to search my bag, then fine, I have no problem with that. But I don’t understand why they can’t handle this like they do with carryon baggage, so that at least you are present when your bags are being searched. Theft is a real concern, as is property damage if bags open accidentally, and I don’t see how plastic twist ties are going to address these concerns.

I undo zip ties all the time. My tool of choice is a small jeweler’s screwdrive, but I’ve used large pins, small nails, etc. Certainly one can find/make a small enough tool that conforms to security rules.

It is easiest to spring from the tightened side pushing in along the ribs. Since I usually undo cable ties and the wires can be pushed out of the way, no problem. But sometimes I have had to go in from the loose side. You need to some free play in the tie to simulaneously push it tighter and press in to get under the latch. (Just like with handcuffs!)

Another advantage of this is the ties are (more or less) reusable.

Hey! I just ranted about this! The inspectors put a cable tie on MY UNLOCKED bag. Ended up burning the damn thing off in my hotel room.

I like this idea! Maybe not the most practical, but fitting, somehow. Of course, I’d have to hope that sj2’s situation doesn’t happen. Acid, as I mentioned, if the tie can be readily removed without cutting or tools, it defeats the purpose of using it.

Another option, one that I just used on a trip: use the cable ties to “lock” your checked suitcase. Put a cutting tool (I use some things that I can only describe as “nippers” to cut off cable ties) in the outside pocket of that same suitcase. Don’t put anything else in that pocket, and leave it unlocked. This assumes, of course, that your suitcase has at least one outside pocket, but many do.

Or, does your bag have a smaller outside pocket? Put a cutting implement in that. So, when you get your bag back, open up the smaller pocket, bring out the cutting tool, and there ya go.


<< Insert Witty Sig Line Here >>

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?&threadid=163768

Nail clippers will cut small cable ties. Nail clippers are now approved for carry-on (see the TSA website)

So secure the bag with small cable ties (which will keep the honest people honest) and clip them with your nail clippers when you get to the hotel.

Ah, Nightsong, great minds think alike!

Would that not defeat the object of using one (for thisparticular application)?

Or, you could just quit worrying about it.

In years and years and years of flying, I’ve never once had anything removed from a bag by a baggage handling thief.

On top of that, would someone working the baggage areas in an airport today dare to break in to a bag to steal something with the increased security scrutiny they get at work as well as coming and going?

I suppose anything’s possible, but I also think that fear of having something stolen out of your luggage is an overblown fear, made bigger by press reports about such incidents years ago.

But, Nightsong’s got it. If they’re going to do a hand search, they’re going to do a hand search. Put your pocket knife in an outside pocket of the luggage - I do it all the time in checked bags, because I routinely carry a Swiss Army knife. It goes in a side pocket of my checked bag at the ticket counter. I’ve never had luggage subjected to a hand search (yet) either.

Of course, no airline has ever lost my luggage - so maybe I just have a “traveller’s aura” surrounding me :smiley: