Press Release - 12 November 2003
Contact: Lindsey Miller
Carroll/White Advertising and Public Relations
770.350.9800 ext. 3024 or 404.543.0371
New System Will Allow TSA to Open Locked Bags, Ease Air Passenger Concerns about Checking Unlocked Bags
Washington – November 12, 2003 – Travel Sentry ®, an organization that provides security solutions to the travel industry, announced today a new baggage locking system that allows airline passengers to lock their bags without interfering with the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) need to open bags for inspection.
Beginning today, the new Travel Sentry® Approved lock can be opened at checked baggage screening stations operated by TSA at more than 400 commercial airports in the U.S. If a checked bag locked with a new Travel Sentry® Approved lock -- clearly identified by a Travel Sentry® Approved mark -- needs to be opened and inspected, the screener will use a combination of codes and secured tools to unlock the lock. Following inspection, the screener will re-lock the bag and send it on its way.
"TSA is ready to work with any industry in developing practical solutions that contribute toward our goal of providing world-class security and world-class customer service," said Ken Lauterstein, Program Manager for Checked Baggage Screening Operations in TSA's Office of Aviation Operations.
Travel Sentry® Approved locks were developed through cooperation between luggage, lock and travel accessory manufacturers. The Travel Sentry® Approved system is the first that uniformly addresses the leave-locked-or-unlocked dilemma faced by passengers who check their bags.
"The Travel Sentry system is the direct result of the travel industry developing a solution that addresses the public's desire to lock their bags with the need of the TSA to have access to those bags for inspection," said John Vermilye, Managing Director of Travel Sentry, the organization that developed the new locking system.
Baggage and lock manufacturers that were affected by the TSA's suggestion for bags to remain unlocked are optimistic about the new system. Several manufacturers have worked quickly to make Travel Sentry® Approved accessories available to the traveling public.
"Our company is proud to be a front-runner in the travel industry by providing peace of mind and security to today's air travelers," said John Dudash, President of Atlantic Luggage Company. "Our Professional ™ collection is equipped with Travel Sentry® Approved locks and Austin House stores will carry individual Travel Sentry® Approved locks for existing baggage."
Travelers understand that locking their baggage only protects their belongings to a certain degree. However, Vermilye says passengers gain a certain peace of mind by being able to lock their bags.
"By locking their baggage, the majority of travelers believe their belongings are relatively safe, even though they know if someone really wants to get in, a lock won't stop them. But, overall, they believe locks are an obvious and viable deterrent to theft and pilfering."
The results of a recent on-line survey of business and leisure airline travelers support his claim.
According to the survey, almost 90 percent of the respondents leave their checked baggage unlocked due to the current TSA screening procedures. The same survey shows that 80 percent of these travelers believe that theft and pilfering by baggage handlers is greatly deterred by locking baggage. Sixty percent of these travelers locked their bags prior to 9/11, and the same percentage would do so today if it were not discouraged.
The new locks are now available for purchase at various travel goods retailers and can be used on existing baggage. Several leading baggage manufacturers are currently in production on baggage with built-in Travel Sentry® Approved locking devices that will soon be available for purchase as well.
"We've heard from our customers that they want to be able to lock their checked baggage when they travel, and we've responded by making the new Travel Sentry® Approved locks available in all of our stores just in time for the busiest travel season of the year," said Michael Anthony, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Brookstone. "We look forward to enhancing the travel experience of our customers with a product that will once again allow them to lock their checked bags with greater confidence."
Travel Sentry is an organization that provides security solutions for the traveling public. The company recently created the Travel Sentry® Approved lock standard that enables the traveling public to lock their baggage during travel while still allowing the TSA to search the bags as needed and then re-lock them. Travel Sentry is based in Washington, D.C. More information can be found at www.travelsentry.org.
PHOTO/INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY: Program spokespeople and product available to press at Brookstone @ Rockefeller Center. Today 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.