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If You Do Check Your Bag, Always Check This!

Baggage tag

Want your bag to arrive at the same destination as you? Up the chances of this happening by always checking that the correct airport code is on the bag tag!

How can an incorrect airport code even end up on your bag tag, you ask? The airline has your itinerary so it should have the correct airport code, right?

Well, yes. Though here are a few situations that happened to me that could have had me searching the world over for my bag had I not checked the luggage tag:

  • The airline’s agent picked up the bag tag for someone else’s bag and put it on mine. In these days of do-more-with-less-people, it is not uncommon to see an agent handling multiple check-in counters. A mistakenly-applied tag could have your bag going to Timbuktu (airport code “TOM,” by the way) instead of the airport where you’re headed. In my case, a label of “MSP” (Minneapolis/St. Paul) was put on my bag when I was heading home to “MCO” (Orlando) because of such a mistake.
  • Your routing may necessitate a baggage pickup and re-check-in in an intermediate airport rather than at your final destination. For me, I left Aberdeen, Scotland on my 3-flight journey back to Orlando. My bag was tagged only to London Heathrow (“LHR”) where I learned I had to claim my bag, then go to the check-in desk and check in for the remainder two flights. Had I not looked at the tag and noticed that it did not show “MCO” and asked about it, I never would have known to collect my bag in London.
  • A handwritten bag tag may be on your bag. My bag got a handwritten tag in a very small airport. The agent had to look up the airport code and luckily wrote “ORD” correctly as that was my destination on this particular trip. She also wrote “Ohair” for the airport name, and this was from an airport person in the U.S.! Jeez! Ok, the name was wrong but the correct code saved the day.

So always, always look at the airport code on your checked bag before the bag is put on the conveyor belt. If you’re not sure of the airport code for your destination, check Wikipedia’s list of airports.

Safe travels to you and your bag!


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