I travel a lot.  I picked up a few tips and tricks that at times makes traveling easier and/or less frustrating.  Today I wanted to discuss checked luggage and what you can do to help keep it from disappearing.  At times checked luggage does go missing but I feel if you go out of your way to tell whoever sees it how to contact you you’ll have a better chance getting it back. 

Below is true for United airlines.  I think it might be true for other airlines but I’m not sure. 

When you check your luggage they attach a printout on your bag (see photo one).  The tag is pretty strong and durable but I’ve seen them ripped off before.  If that tag gets ripped off there’s a very good chance your checked luggage will sit somewhere until a representative researches who it belongs to and attempts to contact you.  Who knows how long that would take.  If you notice the first photo shows three bar codes at the bottom of the tag.  Those are actually stickers.  Sometimes the bag agent will remove one or two of them and stick them on your checked luggage, sometimes they won’t.  Sometimes you have to take your checked luggage to the TSA scanner, sometimes you won’t.  My point is it’s in your best interest to have those stickers on your checked luggage.  Make sure you or the bag agent takes them off and places them on your checked luggage.  This way if for some reason the tag gets ripped off at least they can scan the stickers referencing the data when you checked your bag.  The more places that bar code appears the better.  The stickers are pretty strong but won’t leave residue when you pull them off.   

Of course I recommend having luggage tags on and inside of your checked luggage in multiple places.  Remember, if you lock your bag the airlines can’t get inside of them so make sure you think about that.  It would be pointless to have your contact information only inside behind lock and key.  I have two tags on the outside of my checked luggage and one inside of every compartment.  That’s a total of five.  You don’t have to get fancy.  The self-laminating ones work great.  I have my name, phone number, email address, and my frequent flyer number designating what airline it’s for. 

Sure it might be overkill to have so many luggage tags, airline tabs, and airline stickers but I like my luggage and what’s inside of it.  I really want someone to be able to find me rather than I find my luggage.   


Notice the three bar codes at the bottom of the printout. 



Removed the stickers.



Stuck the stickers all over my bag.