In all honesty I had no plans to write this post until we were preparing to load luggage and head to the airport. I asked my mom if she had her luggage locked and ready to go. She said no, that she didn’t think you were supposed to lock luggage in case it had to be searched.
I was kind of surprised that she hadn’t heard of TSA approved locks. The TSA combo locks I have can be set to your own combination and have a key hole at the bottom so TSA can search your bag and re-lock it. The latches don’t seem like they insert far into the lock, but since they are a combo lock and not a “clicking” lock they don’t need to insert far to work. I’ve used mine 4 times on overseas flights and at least that many times on US flights and have never had a problem.
I also found a TSA approved travel strap with a combo lock that works the same way. A great idea if your luggage is packed tight and you’re afraid for your zipper (been there!) or for identification purposes.