We got some brightly colored ones at WalMart (in the electrical aisles). We put some spares in a sandwich bag and pinned it to the lid. The one bag that got checked (We were standing on the other side of a barrier, but could see and talk to the inspecter.) the inspecter said this was a great idea.
Maryann, you do not have to carry something on your person to cut the ties. I pack a nail kit including Toe Nail Clipper in the outside pocket of our smallest roll-on suitcase which does get checked at the airport. When we retrieve our luggage at our destination, I simply take this piece of luggage and carry it on board the ship with us. The big luggage gets put in the cages by the porters. I have the clippers to snip the cable ties. Now, the last trip in April, we checked 4 pieces of luggage both ways all with the main luggage compartments secured with cable ties. Two pieces out of the four had the zipper pulls broken off of them and the luggage had been inspected by TSA. I was very disappointed that they felt they had to ruin our new luggage. One piece was not even totally secured after it's inspection. This was at our local hometown airport and at FLL.
I do not quite understand why the TSA did what they did. It sounds as if the inspectors wouldn't cut the plastic cable ties, but preferred opening the two suitcases by removing, ....ripping?, their zipper pulls. I'd say this is more than disappointing. That's scary. Tell us more, Nantravel
You are better off not using the cable ties before the bags are inspected. You can then put them on after the inspector is finished. He will do it or watch you do it.
Some airlines even have them available, but don't count on it.
NanaTravel.....They probably ripped the luggage because they didn't have anything to cut the ties with. Keep in mind you tie these pretty tight, so it's very hard to cut them even with knife. let alone a nail clipper. At some airports they do not have anything to cut them with and they get annoyed.
You should always check with the airlines before traveling on restrictions on securing your luggage and weight allowed. They can charge up to $80 for an overweight bag...yikes. That's alot of pina coladas!