Unlock a TSA007 Lock Without a Key in 5 Easy Steps

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Do you know how to unlock a TSA007 lock without a key? Dealing with a TSA007 lock on your luggage without the key can be incredibly frustrating during travel. I’ve been in that situation where I somehow lost or misplaced my TSA-approved key and could not open my suitcase lock. Luckily, over time and dealing with several more TSA 007 locks, I’ve discovered some simple tricks to unlock and remove these locks when you’ve lost your key.

In this quick guide, I’ll share the easy steps I use to effortlessly unlock TSA007 locks without a key based on my travel experiences. You’ll be relieved to find out it only requires things you can find around airports.

You can involve techniques like manipulating the lock’s reset button, using ballpoint pens as makeshift keys, and even picking the locks with bobby pins. Keep reading and you will have a solution the next time your TSA-approved lock refuses to cooperate without its matching key.

Unlock a TSA007 lock without a key
Credit: www.pinterest.com @vminnovations

TSA007 Key Lock – Overview

As an experienced traveler, I always use TSA-approved locks on my luggage. This special TSA lock allows Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers to open my bag if needed during security screening.

TSA007 Key Lock - Overview
Credit: www.pinterest.com @luggageonline1

The TSA007 is a combination lock with a universal key held by TSA agents. Here is an overview:

  • TSA-approved – The TSA007 lock allows TSA officers to open and inspect luggage using a universal master key. This prevents damage to locks or bags during screening.
  • Combination lock – A 3-dial lock lets owners set their code. This allows only those with the correct combination to open the lock, except for TSA master keys.
  • TSA master key access – All TSA officers have a key to open any TSA-approved lock. This allows them to inspect luggage and re-lock it using the same lock.
  • Notice of inspection – If opened by TSA, they will leave a paper notice inside the bag indicating it was opened and inspected. This assures travelers their suitcase lock was accessed officially.
Came from an 8-hour flight just to find that the people at the airport broke into my luggage. Cardans, Traveler

How to Unlock a TSA007 Lock Without a Key?

I use TSA-approved locks to secure my luggage. However, there are ways to potentially unlock the TSA007 lock without keys, though it is not recommended as it could damage the locking mechanism or cause airport security issues.

The most common method is using specialized unlock tools sold online to exploit mechanical flaws and open the lock without visible damage. Here are some of the techniques I use.

Step-by-Step Process to Unlocking the TSA007 Without a Key

I found that unlocking the TSA luggage lock was easier than anticipated. The steps are simple to follow and understandable. However, you still need to be careful. Here is a guideline on the methods that always help me bypass TSA locks.

1. Finding the Reset Button

Locate the reset button on the bottom or side of the TSA007 lock. It is typically tiny.

Unlock TSA007 Lock Without Key. Finding the Reset Button
Credit: www.youtube.com @shylero
  • Finding the Reset Button: I carefully inspect the lock casing to locate a small reset button, usually on the bottom or side. This small button lets me restart the lock.
  • Preparing a Pointed Tool: I grab a pointed tool like a paper clip or push pin to press the miniature reset button. This allows me to access the narrow button.

2. Aligning the Dials

After pressing reset, the lock’s combination wheels should spin freely.

Aligning the Dials
Credit: www.youtube.com @shylero
  • Aligning the Dials: After pressing reset, I manually turn the dials at a 90-degree angle from the lock position. I aim to line them up to the default combination, typically 0-0-0.
  • Looking for Clues: As I slowly dial each number, I feel slight clicks or tension changes, signaling I have the correct combo digit aligned. This helps guide the process.
  • Turning One Dial at a Time: I found it most effective to adjust one dial precisely at a time to decode the combination. Making incremental and systematic changes is key.
  • Using a Flashlight: In challenging situations, I shine a bright flashlight on the lock to better illuminate the dial markings and digits during decoding.

3. Confirming the Lock is Open

With the dials set to 0-0-0, apply light pressure while turning the lock shackle.

Confirming the Lock is Open
Credit: www.youtube.com @shylero
  • Gently Testing for Opening: With the dials aligned to what I believe is the possible combination, I gingerly pull up on the metal shackle to see if the lock opens. Too much force can break it.
  • Rechecking Alignment: If the shackle does not slide open on my first try, I carefully re-inspect the dial alignments and make slight adjustments to the lock position before testing again. Precision takes patience.
Important! Pushing the lock too aggressively can damage it and my luggage permanently. I take great care to unlock the TSA007 without haste or brute strength.

While bypassing the three-digit combination is possible, I recommend proper TSA keys. Forcing locks risks equipment damage and airport security issues. Ethics and safety come first.

It would be unwise to say the least, irresponsible of us at the TSA, at the Homeland Security Department not to evolve our technology to match the changing threat environment that we inhabit. Janet Napolitano

Additional Tips on How to Unlock TSA007 Lock Without the Key and Combination

When I forgot the correct combination of my TSA lock, I had to think fast and come up with a solution. Here is how to unlock tsa007 combination locks with readily available tools.

1. Opening with Paper Clip

A paper clip is easily accessible and is the first thing you should attempt to use.

Opening with Paper Clip
Credit: www.youtube.com @ALinsdau
  • Straighten out a sturdy paper clip.
  • Locate the lock’s reset button, usually at the bottom.
  • Carefully insert the straightened paper clip into the reset button.
  • Apply gentle pressure until you hear a click. This restarts the lock.

2. Opening with Hairpin

A hairpin would also do the job if you can’t get a paperclip.

Opening with Hairpin
Credit: www.youtube.com @jo-g-a-z2855
  • Use a strong, inflexible hairpin.
  • Locate and gently press the reset button to restart the lock.
  • The slender hairpin can press tiny reset buttons a paper clip may miss.

3. Other Considerations

Here are some things I considered when trying to unlock a TSA007 lock without the key:

  • Lock Type – I first made sure my lock was a TSA007 model. Other locks use different opening mechanisms. Identifying my exact lock prevented wasted effort in trying the wrong techniques.
  • Physical Ability – I realized that I’d need a reasonable hand and finger strength to manipulate my TSA007 lock’s buttons or pick it up. Someone who is frail or elderly may struggle with some methods.
  • Security Footage – Since airports and hotels have security cameras, capturing my efforts on CCTV could falsely make me seem suspicious.

Resetting the Combination: Choosing a New Code You Can Remember

I have grown to rely heavily on my TSA 007-approved luggage lock. While it conveniently allows a TSA agent to inspect my bag if needed without damaging the lock, I also love having the option to set up a personalized combination for added security.

So whether you just bought your first TSA 007 lock and want to ditch the factory setting or your lock came with no original code, setting your unique combination is easy once you know the process. Here is how I did it.

1. Choose a Memorable Combination

The first step is choosing a combination that you will remember.

Choose a Memorable Combination
Credit: www.youtube.com @luggageconzTauranga
  • I selected 0805 (August 5th) since it was my mom’s birthday, making it meaningful and easy to recall any time.
  • I avoided obvious codes; understanding a combination like 1111 makes break-ins too simple.

2. Find the Reset Mechanism

Now that I already had the combination I wanted in mind, I was left to find the reset button.

  • I located the tiny hole on the bottom side of the body of my TSA007 lock – this pinhole button was my reset mechanism.
  • Since it was on the bottom edge, hidden subtly along the seam, I searched carefully for its position before attempting a reset.

3. Prepare the Lock for Resetting

I then got ready to do the reset.

Prepare the Lock for Resetting
Credit: www.youtube.com @luggageconzTauranga
  • With my lock already unlocked, I positioned the dials correctly, showing the factory current combination that had come preprogrammed when I first bought it.
  • I used a bent paperclip tip to press the pinhole reset button, feeling it depress and clicking slightly. This told me it was ready for my new combo.

4. Input the New Combination

I then dialed in the new combination.

  • Keeping pressure on the button, I carefully dialed my newly chosen 3-digit combination 0-8-0-5 into the numerical wheels. Remember to double-check the order as you turn each one.
  • Before proceeding, I verified that all the tiny numbers aligned perfectly with my selected 0805 combo, so I knew everything was positioned accurately.

Here is a video on how to do it.

5. Confirm the New Combination

There is only one way of knowing whether the new combination works. And that is through testing.

Confirm the New Combination
Credit: www.youtube.com @luggageconzTauranga
  • Letting go of the reset button, I tested opening then closing the lock several times with my new combination to confirm the change took properly – and it did.
  • I also intentionally scrambled the dials and redid the code from scratch on each test to be sure I knew it.

6. Record the Combination

I finally wrote my unique 0805 combinations on a small note in a secure location, my wallet behind my reusable flight tickets, so I’d never risk losing this sequence again when traveling or in case I forget it.

Do You Need A TSA Lock On Your Luggage?

Although using a TSA lock is not compulsory, the Transportation Security Administration highly recommends them for protection and peace of mind when traveling. TSA agents have special tools to open these locks during inspections without damaging them for convenience during screenings.

Do You Need A TSA Lock On Your Luggage?

This allows airport personnel to:

  • Unlock locks easily for bag inspections.
  • Then, re-lock bags without issues afterward.

However, if you opt not to use a TSA-approved lock and your luggage gets randomly selected, there is a risk of:

  • TSA breaking non-approved locks to inspect bags.
  • Cutting luggage open if it can’t be unlocked.
  • Damage to locks and bags from forced entry can mean paying costly replacement and repair fees.

To avoid that, I always choose to travel with TSA-approved locks, which are conveniently available at most travel stores and websites. Using these locks means TSA can open my luggage lock when needed without causing any damage.

Can You Put A Zip Tie On Your Luggage?

Yes, you can put a zip tie on your luggage, though it’s not as effective as having a TSA lock. Here are some key points about using zip ties on checked luggage:

Can You Put A Zip Tie On Your Luggage?
  • Airport and TSA rules allow zip ties: As long as they are easily removable by agents if needed, zip ties are permitted for securing luggage during travel. Metal locks can cause issues with security, but plastic zip ties pose no such problems.
  • They offer additional protection: Zip ties can provide extra peace of mind that no one can easily access my bags between check-in and baggage claim. They help bags maintain their closure and act as a minor deterrent to theft.
  • Don’t make them impossible to remove: While I want my zip ties to be snug, I must leave enough room on the ends for TSA agents to quickly clip them off if my bag gets pulled for additional screening. Overly tight ties that can’t be cut could damage belongings or bags.

So zip ties are an airport-approved supplemental measure you can take to strap your luggage shut before handing it over to my airline. By leaving the ties somewhat loose for easy removal, you can balance safely securing my checked bags during transit and maintaining accessibility for any inspections.

Will The Airport Open A TSA Lock?

As an avid traveler, I always use TSA-approved locks on my checked baggage. Recently, can airport staff or TSA agents open these locks if needed?

Will The Airport Open A TSA Lock?

Here’s what I found out:

  • Yes, TSA and airport staff have master keys to open TSA locks. This allows authorized personnel to inspect luggage if necessary without damaging locks.
  • Opening with master keys leaves no signs of damage or tampering. Once inspected, they can re-lock bags securely using the same TSA-approved locks.
  • I still have peace of mind my belongings are secure with a TSA lock. Only authorized staff can access luggage with the master keys.
  • My TSA lock combination remains known only to me for all other situations. So my belongings are still properly protected from unauthorized access or security issues.

While it seems concerning initially that TSA and airports can unlock my baggage, I know they have legitimate reasons for needing access. TSA locks are still the best way to keep my checked luggage locked yet inspectable when required.

Best Suitcases Equipped With TSA007 Combination Lock

Some brands stood out for quality and security when looking for a suitcase with built-in TSA-approved locks. I opted for these two:

Samsonite Winfield 3 DLX

Here is what I love about Samsonite Winfield 3 DLX.

Samsonite Winfield 3 DLX
  • Durability: The polycarbonate shell is highly scratch-resistant for long-lasting use under tough travel conditions.
  • Security: Features a TSA-accepted combination lock on the main compartment for security and convenience.
  • Capacity: Spacious compartments with cross straps and zippered expansion to maximize packing.
  • Maneuverability: Multi-directional spinner wheels glide effortlessly.
  • Warranty: Samsonite backs this model with their standard 10-year limited warranty.
  • Overall: An ideal balance of strength, space, security, and maneuverability.

Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds

Apart from being TSA lock-approved, this suitcase brand stands out.

Kenneth Cole Reaction Out of Bounds
  • Shell: Made using durable ABS composite material with texture detailing.
  • Security: Integrated TSA-approved locks allow agents access yet keep contents secured.
  • Storage: Roomy main compartments plus organizer pockets optimize packing capacity.
  • Wheels: Smooth-rolling wheels with reinforced bearings.
  • Warranty: Includes Kenneth Cole’s standard 5-year limited warranty coverage.
  • Overall: A rugged checked bag with integrated TSA-accepted locks.

Is It Worth Getting TSA Locks?

As a frequent traveler, I find combination locks helpful in securing my checked bags. Here’s my assessment:

Is It Worth Getting TSA Locks?
  • Provide extra peace of mind against theft, knowing your belongings remain safe
  • Allow TSA agents to inspect bags without damaging locks
  • Offer a deterrent from tampering since only TSA has the master keys
  • I still maintain control of access since only I know the combination
  • Don’t guarantee theft prevention if TSA or airline staff are dishonest
  • Requires paying an additional cost for locks

While not foolproof, TSA locks boost my confidence in avoiding baggage mishaps. The pros outweigh the cons, given the relatively low prices. The extra layer of security they add makes them worthwhile for frequent travelers who check bags.


How do I reset my digit luggage lock?

To reset a digit luggage lock, locate the reset button on the lock (typically tiny) and use a pin to hold the reset while setting a new combination.

What is the TSA007 default lock code?

The default lock code for a new TSA007 lock with no combination set yet is 0-0-0. If you get a TSA007 lock secondhand and wonder if the combination has been changed, trying 0-0-0 is a good starting point.

What do you do when your luggage lock won’t open?

If your TSA-approved luggage lock will not open, you can request TSA agents or airline staff to use their master key to open it at airports or ask a locksmith for assistance elsewhere.


When deciding how to unlock a TSA007 lock without a key, it’s clear these locks are designed for security, not accessibility. To unlock a TSA007 lock, you need a handy tool like a pin or hairclip. These will help you press the reset button. After resetting the combination, you can enter a new combination number and unlock it. TSA agents have master keys that can unlock the locks without a combination.

Alternatives like zip ties or unlocked bags provide more flexibility but less protection. Choosing your locking method depends on your priorities and risk comfort.

By now, I hope you clearly understand TSA007 lock policies plus alternatives that ease access. Let this comparison inform wise choices so you can focus on securing belongings, not damaging locks.

Have you ever forgotten your TSA007 key at the airport? What difficulties did you encounter? Please share your story in the comments below.

Author - Willa Carson
Happywayfarer author Willa Carson
Hi, I'm Willa Carson, a passionate traveler who has been exploring the world for 7 years. Whether it's trekking through the Himalayas, exploring ancient ruins in South America, or simply savoring a cup of coffee at a local cafe, I believe that travel has the power to enrich our lives in countless ways. So join me on my journey and let's discover the world together!
Read more about me here.


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