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The TSA notified me when they opened my bag a few years ago, with a polite leaflet placed in the bag. I would not have noticed otherwise - the contents appeared undisturbed. I don't know if this is standard or current practice.

It's been nearly a decade since I worked for the TSA, but back then the procedure was: 1) Put the bag through the CT scanner 2) If it beeps, open the bag and find the offending object and make sure it's not an explosive or whatever. 3) Try to put the bag back together the way you found it as best you can 4) Leave that note that says you were in the bag 5) Send it on it's way

I suspect it probably hasn't changed much.

2 sounds like Buggs Bunny banging on a warhead screaming "Dud!"

I wonder what's in my bag. I get that little TSA love letter pretty much every time I fly.

The only odd thing I can think of is I have a tiny pair of pliers in one pocket due to an iffy zipper. I also typically put a laptop in there instead of carrying it. Maybe that combo sets something off.

I had 6 bottles of protein shake in my checked bag and it was searched. Kinda makes sense, probably looks a lot like an explosive in a CT scan. I suspect that was the reason because the bottles were all moved to the top of the bag, when they were originally on the bottom.

If your laptop is chunky or metal-cased, that's a pretty likely candidate. Not because it's suspicious but because it's just a big grey square of hard-to-scan. I seem to see a strong correlation between checking a laptop and getting a bag search.

Standard. I've gotten one on basically every int'l flight to/from US I've been on for the past couple of years.

Years ago when I was on a school trip to the Virgin Islands, me and this other kid wrote rather inappropriate but humorous signs on cardboard (we got snowed in at the airport), I later stored them in my checked bag. When I arrived at my destination not only had the TSA guys left a sticker that said they were in there to the outside, but they had stuck stickers to the funniest couple of the signs as well. I understand peoples ire toward them but that single gesture makes it hard for me to hate them.

I assumed they opened every single bag. Most of my flights are international and every time I've opened my bag I've had one of those pieces of paper

I used to get these all the time when traveling inside the US. Seemed like once or twice a month at least, all domestic flights. I'm guessing it was because I was traveling with some equipment (cameras, binoculars, a drone) but I don't know for sure.

Similar to your experience of traveling with specialized equipment, whenever I fly with my skis I find them to have been searched with the handy pamphlet included inside.

It's at least pretty good proof that these checks aren't random (which is truly a good thing).

OK, here's my story: Years ago, I visited Washington DC, and at the bottom of the "Exorcist Stairs" (so named, because they were in the movie...) I found a 15-pound iron barbell. I brought it home in my checked baggage. I think that was the one and only time I've gotten one of those notices that they searched the bag.

I traveled with a bass in a hard case once (domestically), they made sure to look through that.

They probably mistook your bass for a pike. Bring a salmon next time.

I am pretty sure what prompted my search: tire chains.

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