Over the past few decades, there has been a significant shift in the use of security seals by airlines. Previously, their usage was limited to monitor theft or tampering with goods in catering carts and other items sold on airplanes. Now, threats against commercial aviation have made security seals critical for the safe operation of airlines and are a regulated necessity for Airlines as part of their operational structure.

One of the areas that have seen increasing usage of security seals application is on-board and in-flight services. All food and products sold on board must be strictly controlled in view of possible inspections by the health, tax and, of course, customs authorities. In this respect, airline catering seals take on a special importance: they guarantee both the identification and the non-manipulation of this type of lockers on the plane.

Key Areas for Airline Security Seals

1. The high volume of cargo

There is a high volume of cargo moving through an airport at any given time. Without proper monitoring or detection devices, there is no way to know that the equipment, fuel, luggage, and other materials on board have not been tampered with. Security seals and related devices are a key tool in tamper detection. In the aviation industry, nothing can be left to chance.

2. The number of different items that require security measures

Various operations within the aviation industry require security, more so than ever before. For example, cargo and luggage containers are sealed with plastic padlock seals to protect shipments, while carts accessed by onboard crew require similar seals that also can be opened without tools.

Stronger seals are necessary to protect valves, storage areas, and other less frequently accessed areas. Tamper evident tape and adhesive labels help seal stretch-wrapped cargo or cargo on pallets. Application goes as far as aircraft doors and hatches to deter and detect attempts of unauthorized entrance.

3. The number of people involved in the industry

When people have intention to commit a crime, they often know enough to cover their tracks. A low-tech or simple method of security can often be outsmarted or avoided. Security and tamper evident seals help airlines to ensure that doesn’t happen.

There are many different types of seals, each with their own procedures for handling, inspection, and disposal. There are key markings, colour codes, and other identifiers that make it so that people who are authorized to handle the items can do so, and there is clear evidence of attempts at unauthorized access.  They are apparent and can be quickly detected by trained personnel.

4. The regulatory requirements

The aviation industry is one of the most tightly-regulated industries in the world. There are complex standards for maintenance, performance, safety, food, equipment, luggage, and so much more, that there is absolutely no room for error. The smallest deviation from safety standards can be disastrous for the airline company and highly dangerous for staff and passengers.

Importance of Securing In-Flight Services

The in-flight catering service is not only a culinary challenge for any chef, but also a logistical challenge from the point of view of food safety. The risk of collective food poisoning on board an aeroplane has to be minimized to avoid such a potentially catastrophic event.

The use of security seals have been highlighted to provide key support for the following areas of service:

  • Traceability: the supply chain must be respected at all times, since it is what prevents tampering and food contamination. The security seal ensures traceability of the food at all times during transport and prevents unauthorized handling up until the point of purchase and consumption.
  • Customs and Import: the food and products that are transported in the catering trolleys must be declared to the authorities. The food that is consumed does not fall within the fiscal import/export framework, but its transportation must be recorded in view of a possible inspection. In this respect, the security seals then function as a control device that avoids irregularities.
  • Product Security:  security seals also aim to prevent unwanted theft of the goods they protect. In this case, the trolleys not only transport food for the passengers, but also all the products offered for sale on board. It is therefore important that trolleys remain secured and are clearly identifiable if they have been opened or accessed by a third party.

As a manufacturer and supplier of Security Seals, JW Products provide solutions to some of the largest users of duty free, baggage handling and door-to-door luggage delivery for major European airport. The corporations we supply include operators such as Air Portr, World Duty Free Group and DHL. Air Portr utilize fully customised Skyseals with double side tag printing, including the company logo, sequential numbering and barcoding. These seals are applied and offer full traceability and tamper detection throughout their entire door-to-door luggage delivery service.

Seals for In-Flight Catering

Padlock–type seals:

Padlock-type security seals are used to seal the on-board catering trolleys. These also incorporate identifying data for monitoring the products. In fact, they can be made to measure. However, their main function is to prevent the unauthorized opening of the on-board trolleys.

These padlock-shaped seals are made of plastic and are easy to apply but still provide a level of security to deter tampering and identify unauthorised access. Once they are hooked, they must be cut open to gain access to the trolley.

The Spring-Lok Seal (highlighted below) is a perfect solution for securing trolley access.

Plastic pull-tight seals:

The most widely used security seals, they have a flexible plastic strip and a wider flag which contains the ID information. They usually incorporate a bar code and a number corresponding to the delivery note that accompanies the trolley. When checking the content of the trolley, the proper checks are made and, if the seal corresponds to the information shown in the document, it is sealed in compliance.

This seal is a passive security semi-barrier system. In this respect they are not the same as the high security seals we have available for more robust requirements. However, they require no special tools for removal but still provide all of the essential benefits of a security seal.

Skyseals and Lightlock Seals (highlighted below) perform this function well for airline catering services.

Metal Cable Seals:

This is the third most common type of security seals for in-flight catering and sales. A safer alternative to the previous model, which is made of plastic, and ensures greater protection against tampering, since special tools are needed for opening it.

For these particular requirements, Cable Seals (highlighted below) are the perfect solution for a robust security system.

JW Seal Solutions

1. Spring-Lok, the quintessential trolley seal

The Spring-Lok Seal one of most versatile padlock-type seals. In the airline industry, it is used to protect lockers on the plane and for in-flight sales and food trolleys.

Its main features are:

  • Made of polypropylene, with a tensile strength of 2.8 kg.
  • Manually locked and no tool is necessary for its application.
  • Ideal for holes and small openings.
  • Customizable with various types of marking: injected ink, digital thermoprinting and/or laser. You can add a company logo and name, as well as a bar code and identification numbering.
  • Available in five different colours: red, light blue, yellow, white and black.

2. Skyseal and Lightlock, plastic pull-tight seals

In the airline industry, they are also used to seal life jackets and first aid kits. We compare both pull-tight seal options and highlight their individual specifications.

Skyseal Pull-Tight Seal:

  • 200mm x 2mm strap with 27mm x 18mm tag
  • Polypropylene material with stainless steel locking jaw
  • Tensile strength of > 14kg
  • Fully customisable with laser printing (sequential numbering, barcoding, name/logo)
  • Colours available as standard are blue, red, green and yellow
  • Available with an easy tear-off feature for quick removalFire Extinguisher seal

Lightlock Pull-Tight Seal:

  • 220mm x 2.6mm strap with 33.5mm x 21.3mm tag
  • Polypropylene material
  • Tensile Strength of > 8kg (17.6lbs)
  • Operating Temperature of -20 to 60°C
  • Easy application and hand removal
  • Fully customisable with laser printing (sequential numbering, barcoding, name/logo)
  • Wide range of colours for colour coding areas for easy identification – black, blue, green, white, orange, red, yellow.

3. Metal Cable Seal, high-level in-flight security

The Metal Cable Seal provides greater security than previous models. It is used in the airline industry in cases in which the company wants to provide extra security to its trolleys and lockers.

Its main features are:

  • The flag is made of rust proof aluminium with a non-preformed steel aircraft cable.
  • Tensile strength 1250 kg.
  • Requires special tools for removing.
  • Fully customisable with laser printing (sequential numbering, barcoding, name/logo)
  • Available in red and black (other colours available on bespoke orders)
  • ISO 11712:2013 “H” compliant for high-security certified usage


You can view our full range of aviation and aerospace seals here:

You can purchase our Springlok Seal here:

You can purchase a range of Security Labels here:

You can purchase Skyseals here:

If you require a more bespoke option, you can use contact us by visiting the quote page here or alternatively you can call our sales team on +44 1252624305.

About JW Products

JW Products have been servicing the security seal requirements of the transport, haulage and aviation industry worldwide, for over 20 years. We have built a reputation for reliability, expertise and excellence since our conception in 2000 and we are ready to help your business thrive in a post Brexit world. You can rely on our dedicated team to identify your business’s security seal requirements and offer approved solutions to meet them. We offer high security tamper proof security seals, conforming to ISO 17712:2013 and effective tamper evident seals, to help your business meet regulatory standards and protect your assets. As a trusted supplier to Government Agencies, NHS and UK Police Forces, your business can engage with JW Products with confidence.