What information is on an airline bag tag?

The adhesive label that gets wrapped around the handle of your suitcase at the check-in counter is known as an automated baggage tag (ABT).

Introduced in the early 1990s, ABTs are made from silicon and plastic, resistant to moisture, oil, heat, cold and sunlight and designed to be rip-proof.

The information printed on the ABT varies slightly from one airline to another but every tag has the passenger's name, flight number, date and destination.

It might have the bag weight, place of origin and the booking reference.

There's also a 10-digit number known as the IATA license plate code.

The first digit is the Baggage Tag Issuer Code, the next three digits identify the carrier airline, followed by a rolling number that resets when it gets to the last digit.

The bar code is what gets read by the scanner which then directs the bag to a particular destination and it appears twice, printed both horizontally and vertically so it can be read more easily.

The luggage tag has a little sibling known as the stub.

The stub duplicates the luggage tag barcode and it's placed on the bag to aid identification if the ABT should become detached.


Since stubs can confuse a scanner it's essential to remove the stub as well as the ABT before your next flight.

See also: Why you should never post a photo of your boarding pass online

See also: Does your bag come out quicker if you check-in late for a flight?

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