Do Checked Bags Get X Rayed ?

So do checked bags get X rayed or looked through ?

There are various reasons why you should know why your checked bag is searched at the airport. Maybe you want to transport a valuable item or you want to sneak some gifts for your loved ones, but just to know the main reason our luggage gets searched is to actually protect us.

If this is your first time check in a bag and wonder if your checked bag will get x rayed or even if you don’t know what will happen to your checked bags after you hand it to the airline.

This post will answer all your questions about the process of searching checked baggage and why checked baggage gets searched at first hand, who looks after your bag, and more importantly who looks into them?

Let’s dive right in!

TIP: If you don’t want your checked baggage to be searched, the solution is to limit the number of items you take and limit the number of suitcases by traveling with only a solid and roomy carry on bag, but make sure that your suitcase is not too bulky , it is always better to travel with a carry on and a personal item, Basically, taking less is always a better choice.

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Samsonite Freeform Hardside – Checked bag / Courtesy of Amazon

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Do Checked Bags Get X Rayed ?

Yes, almost all checked luggage get X rayed before taking it to the Airplane, the X ray can detect any density in the content of the bag.

The X-ray machine makes it easy for airports to scan a large number of bags easily and quickly.

If the X-ray machine detects something abnormal in the suitcase then the security officers will open the bag.

Do Airlines Search Checked Luggage?

No airlines do not search checked baggage or even carry on baggage, the only thing Airlines have to check is the weight and the size of your bag.

Only the airport security in international flights and the TSA in the U.S search checked luggage, and most of the time they use scanners and they do not open bags until they need to manually inspect a certain item.

Though most airport security will leave a notice of inspection if they open your bag, so if it happened your received your bag opened make sure that it is opened by the airport security.

The TSA will live a note like this one.

The TSA notice of inspection

Why Did The TSA Search My Checked Luggage?

The airport security in the United States is managed by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration), so they screen your baggage and to make sure that you don’t include any prohibited item inside your bag, or you don’t exceed any quantity limits for certain items.

After you hand your checked bag to the airline it will give it to the TSA to be inspected.

The TSA stated that they don’t need to open suitcases most of the time, they only scan them, and if there is an item that is not clear or need to be inspected physically they might tend to open the bag.

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This passenger asked the TSA if they will lock baggage after they inspect it, and the TSA replied that they will ensure everything is placed back in its original state.

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What Happens If The Tsa Finds Something In Checked Luggage?

Why did the TSA search my checked luggage?

Almost all the airport security including the TSA wants to maintain the safety and security of the airplanes and passengers,so there are certain items which are not permitted to be transported in checked baggage.

And if the TSA finds something in checked baggage, if it is prohibited or exceeds the limits they will remove it and they will notify you that they took your item, so make sure to read the TSA rules and do not include any prohibited item inside your checked bag.

Prohibited items

There is a list of the prohibited items – liquids or solid items- that you should not include inside your checked baggage, almost all of them are listed in the TSA website, though we’ve covered also almost all what you can or cannot take on a plane here or you can just just head to the search bar and type your item.

For example if the TSA finds (uninstalled) lithium ion and lithium metal batteries in your checked baggage, they will remove them.

Never Pack Anything Valuable In Checked Luggage

When traveling with expensive items, it is preferable to not place them inside your checked luggage.

Items like jewelry should be kept with you all the time in your carry on baggage,

Once you hand over your bag to the airline at the check-in desk you don’t know who is going to search or open it.

So it is preferable to not place any valuable items inside your checked bag, in addition most airlines will not cover your lost or stolen expensive items.

Your carry-on bag is also prone to be subject for gate check in especially in budget airlines, so it makes sense to transfer any expensive items from your bag to your personal item.

How Airport Luggage Search Work?

woman in brown t shirt pushing her pink luggage and man in black long sleeves pushing trolley
Photo by Brandin T on

Almost any airport in the world uses airport baggage scanners, usually they use different types of scanners.

Besides body scanners that can detect any prohibited or hidden items, luggage scanners are clear enough to provide details on the content of the bag.

This is why many of us still wonder “If the Airline Search our Checked Bag?” because we didn’t notice any trace, but some passengers were still worried about losing their items.

What airport scanners can see?

Scanner can detect any item, metallic or nonmetallic, that means the airport can search your bag without even opening it.

Scanners can see almost any material inside your bag, but as described above if you are traveling with an item that the airport security cannot recognize in the screening process, and most of the time if it is too much condensed, the security will tend to open and search your bag.

How To Prevent Your Checked Bag From Being X Rayed?

The best way to prevent your bag from being opened and searched at the airport is to organize your items inside your bag, make them clear and easy to scan.

if you put only your clothes inside our bag, most of the time your bag will make it to your destination without being opened.

Final Thoughts : Do Checked Bags Get X Rayed?

Yes almost 99% of checked luggage will get x-rayed, airport authorities want to make sure that the passengers are safe and the bags do not contain any prohibited items.

In U.S if the TSA searches your luggage you will find a TSA “Notice Of Baggage Inspection” inside your luggage but most of the time they only screen the luggage.

If you received your bag and found items being broken or missing, make sure to head to the airline desk and make a complaint.

We hope this helps

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