Why you need to at all times examine your bag tag at check-in

It is by no means enjoyable when your baggage arrives at a very completely different vacation spot than you do. Sadly, that occurs to hundreds of vacationers every day.

Almost 250,000 checked baggage have been mishandled (that means misplaced or delayed) within the U.S. throughout August 2023, in accordance with a current report from the U.S. Division of Transportation. That equals a median of 6.1 checked baggage per 1,000 — and people are simply the statistics for U.S.-based airways. When you concentrate on what number of worldwide airways there are and the potential for mishandled baggage with them, the quantity skyrockets.

One main reason for misplaced or delayed baggage is because of incorrect tagging. Whenever you hand your baggage off on the check-in counter, do you check out the bag tag earlier than it disappears onto the conveyor belt? If not, this is why you need to begin doing so.

How does a bag get tagged to the improper vacation spot?


The only reply is that the check-in agent could have by accident enter the improper vacation spot code. You could be going to Dallas Fort Price Worldwide Airport (DFW), but when the agent by accident varieties in DTW, your bag will arrive at Detroit Wayne County Worldwide Airport as a substitute. Or possibly you are going to San Juan, Puerto Rico, the place the airport code is SJU, however the agent misroutes your baggage to SJO, an airport in Costa Rica.

One other risk is that another person’s bag tag with a special vacation spot was affixed to your baggage. Possibly the check-in agent printed out an additional tag from the earlier buyer and, as a substitute of throwing it out, inadvertently used that one in your baggage. They may’ve put the identical improper declare tag in your boarding move.

In case your baggage has a tag along with your contact data, it is extremely possible you will ultimately be reunited along with your baggage (although it might not occur as shortly as you want). Make sure to have your contact particulars in a number of locations — a tag on the skin and one thing inside of every suitcase is suggested. If there is no ID tag, your baggage will possible sit round with all the opposite unclaimed baggage.

Associated: My bag wasn’t tagged accurately — reader mistake story

How you can keep away from your bag being tagged incorrectly

Until you have elite standing or use the proper bank cards, many airways cost $60 per checked bag on a round-trip flight (or typically much more). So, it is importamt to do all you’ll be able to to make sure your bag will get tagged correctly.

Affirm the vacation spot on the tag

Ask the check-in agent if you happen to can see the bag tag both earlier than it is positioned in your baggage or earlier than your baggage is shipped down the conveyor belt. In case you’re checking a number of baggage, make sure you have a look at the tag for each bag.

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Test the connection, too

Not solely do you have to examine for the vacation spot, however you also needs to examine the connection in case you are not flying nonstop.

That is particularly necessary as a result of baggage are usually not at all times routed on to the ultimate vacation spot. Typically, chances are you’ll be answerable for choosing up your bag from the primary leg of your journey and rechecking it; the easiest way to substantiate that is to see what’s on the bag tag.

For instance, whenever you return to the U.S. from a world journey, you sometimes have to gather your baggage and recheck it on your connecting flight. Make sure to examine the bag tag at that time, additionally.

In case you’re flying completely different airways on a single itinerary (even with the identical airline alliance), your bag could not at all times get checked by way of to your remaining vacation spot, regardless of what a well-meaning airline employee could let you know. All the time verify it for your self by checking the bag tag.

Visually verify tags have been added to every bag you examine in

Do not simply examine the place it is tagged. You also needs to wait on the counter till you see that the right bag tag has been added to your whole baggage.

Tag your individual baggage

Lastly, at any time when potential, use self-tagging at a kiosk that permits you to print your individual bag tags and place them on the luggage you want to examine. Although human error is much less possible right here than on the counter, you need to nonetheless double-check your bag tags even when self-tagging at a kiosk and make sure the vacation spot is appropriate.

How you can maintain observe of your baggage after you permit the counter

In case you go away the counter with out checking the bag tags, you continue to have a number of choices to ease your thoughts. You too can use these strategies even if you happen to’ve checked the tags and easily need to be certain your baggage makes it onto the airplane.

More and more, U.S. airways have arrange baggage monitoring options on their web sites and cellular apps. Southwest Airways is the newest to take action, becoming a member of American Airways, Delta Air Traces and United Airways in providing a baggage monitoring device.


You too can use a Bluetooth tracker, similar to Apple AirTags, to maintain tabs in your baggage. This fashion, you’ll be able to monitor that your baggage has been loaded onto your airplane and arrived at your vacation spot.

If issues go haywire and your baggage do not arrive whenever you do — particularly throughout the busy summer time or vacation journey seasons — know the steps you need to take if you find yourself with misplaced or delayed baggage and the way bank cards can come to the rescue.

Backside line

Checking a bag comes with some dangers of mishandling alongside the best way. In fact, if you wish to remove that danger altogether, you will journey with carry-on baggage solely. If that is not potential otherwise you simply favor to examine a bag, there are steps you’ll be able to take to keep away from your baggage getting checked to the improper vacation spot. Begin by merely inspecting the bag tags and declare tags earlier than you permit the check-in counter.

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