This article is part of our ongoing Business Travel 101 series for newcomers to the world of business travel.
It’s no secret that airlines accidentally send bags to the wrong places – or very occasionally, lose them entirely – but there’s one very easy thing you can do at check-in to give your suitcase the best chance of turning up at the other end of your journey, and it’s as easy as affixing a sticker.
Firstly, every printed baggage tag has a few barcodes: these tell automated baggage sorting systems where your bag is headed, and on the same tag in plain English, you’ll be able to spot your flight number(s), destination, and any transit points if you’re taking a connecting flight.
But here’s something you might not know – every tag is also printed with a couple of removeable stickers at the bottom, containing its own barcode and basic flight information.
These are essentially ‘backup’ barcodes, and one of them should always be detached from the main tag and stuck somewhere else on your bag, as seen here:
The idea is that if the main tag is damaged or breaks off, your suitcase will still have your journey information attached, so can be scanned by baggage sorting systems as normal and sent on its way.
Many check-in staff proactively do this for you – especially the more experienced agents who often work at premium check-in counters – but even there, I still have to ask from time to time: and if travelling from an airport with automated check-in facilities, this is definitely a DIY job.
Certainly, having your name and contact information elsewhere on the bag can also be useful if your suitcase does astray, but remembering this quick ‘sticker trick’ every time you check-in can reduce the chances of that happening, and help keep your business trip or holiday on-track.