I have used the cable times many times. You can put extra in the suitcase to use on the way back or in case the airline has to open the luggage. I put a small fingernail clipper in an outside pocket to cut the tie at the destination. That way if it gets lost it is not a big deal and is easy to replace.
If you are going to travel by air then invest in the TSA Locks. Each lock features the Travel Sentry logo, which alerts TSA personnel that they may open this lock without destroying it. Each TSA screening location has a secured set of passkeys with special codes to open the locks, and will relock them after inspection.
The lock can be opened at checked baggage screening stations operated by TSA at more than 400 commercial airports across the country
A couple of notes about the TSA locks, I've read. First, the TSA's web site says that TSA workers will open the TSA locks if they have time to do so. Otherwise, they will cut the locks off. Second, some folks have raised a concern that bags with TSA locks attract attention (of theives) as indicating possibly more valuable contents that bags without TSA locks. YMMV.
What if we just lock them as usual with the luggage's own lock? We also put a canvas strap around it in case the locks pop. Has anyone had a problem with the airline breaking open the locks? We are flying United from LAX.
Highlight: "Although the TSA says that its screeners are able to open and close the locks after inspecting checked bags, they acknowledge that many locks are being cut off and tossed away. Travelers don't discover the problem until they pick up their bags at their destinations."