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Exterior luggage / baggage tag for flying?

Exterior luggage / baggage tag for flying?

Old Aug 16, 19, 9:41 pm
  #1  
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Exterior luggage / baggage tag for flying?

Yesterday a friend flew EU-LHR (BA) LHR-DFW (AA) then was scheduled to fly DFW-ONT (AA).

The LHR-DFW flight was late, so he was rebooked on a later DFW-ONT flight. That flight had a posted delay of 3 hours, so over the phone I suggested he try to get an DFW-LAX flight. (ONT and LAX are about equidistant from Chez Nous.)

He arrived at LAX, but his bag did not. He got a notification saying the bag would come in on a later flight and that he had the option of having it delivered. He spoke to the Baggage Services people in LAX T5, and gave them his BA claim check number and my address.

No sign of the bag this morning.

I phoned the Baggage Services number and was helped by a friendly, helpful and competent lady. She said, according to the records, there were two bag claim numbers associated with his checked luggage, even though he had checked only one piece. Apparently they were having trouble confirming this was his bag before sending it out for delivery.

I asked if we could expedite by going to LAX where he could point to his bag and say "That's my bag". She politely suggested that would indeed expedite matters, however they were still happy to deliver it once they got the numbers straightened out.

So we drove through <drama> Friday afternoon traffic on the 405 </drama> and got the bag. He saw it right there in the Baggage Services room, pointed to it and confirmed the bag tag numbers on the BA-issued original tag and his receipt. Minutes later, we were heading out of the airport with the bag. Happy ending.

But...

When we got home, I learned there was no exterior tag on the bag with his name, only the BA-issued tag and the AA-issued tag when the bag was re-routed to LAX instead of ONT. (Thus, two bag claim numbers.)

We have a difference of opinion here.

His POV: He does not like to put his name and especially not his address on an outside tag. He had a business card with his full name and address INSIDE the bag, but nothing with his name on the exterior. He has heard that thieves read bag names and address and, thus, know who is away on vacation. The AA Baggage Services people should be able to see the BA number on the bag matched the BA number he provided when he filed his missing baggage claim.

My POV: Put at least your name on an exterior bag tag so if there is any confusion, such as two competing claim numbers, the name on the exterior tag would break the tie.

I am sure that Flyertalkers will be happy to offer opinions.
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Old Aug 16, 19, 9:45 pm
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For me its a no brainer I have a biz card on the outside of my bag in the luggage tag slot.

All the info on it is for my office address and my work phone number.(which will ring my cellphone anywhere in 170+ countries).

If someone wants to go to my office address have fun!

Worst case my bag ends up at my companies office I can scoop it up when I get back or in an extreme case have the bag then shipped over night via something like Fedex/UPS to wherever in the world I need it.

Can't see a downside.
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Old Aug 17, 19, 12:26 am
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I always have an exterior tag with a delivery address that is not my home.

I also have an itinerary traffic and an itinerary inside the bag.
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Old Aug 17, 19, 12:32 am
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Ok. In Australia those brag tags the airline mails out are actually useful (you can check bags without printing a tag with them as they have a chip in). So because my dad is like your mate here, I have always used those tags, with my QF number and cell phone as my bag tag. In the naive optimistic belief that, given I almost always fly with OW airlines outside Australia they should be able to call Qantas and work it out, or call me using the number on the bag

this has outfoxed IB on this occasion

funnily enough I have purchased the giant yellow FT tags and was going to deploy them on this trip but irrops meant I couldn’t get home to collect them so flew straight from work

i will not be making the same mistake again 😉
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Old Aug 17, 19, 7:13 am
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
I always have an exterior tag with a delivery address that is not my home.

I also have an itinerary traffic and an itinerary inside the bag.
I do the same. I print out half-sheets of paper with the following info and put them inside my bags, including carryon:

AA###
AAA-BBB
Real name
Country code and Cell phone number
Twitter Handle/Instagram Username
email address

I also recently was sent some free eBags “connected” tags. They have a QR code that when scanned provides your info, but here’s the cool part: you can control what info is displayed from your phone. So, as long as the bag is in your possession or not lost, you keep info display off. Once the bag goes MIA, then you can turn on as much or as little info as you want, including a picture of the bag. And, when someone scans the tag, you get a notification. Haven’t had to take advantage of its features yet, but I like the concept.
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Old Aug 17, 19, 8:03 am
  #6  
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In this case, it is unclear to me why one would drive to LAX. Your friend had his bag tag and could have read the number over the phone and received a match just as easily. But, to each his own.

Had your friend actually handled the bag check with AA as the originating carrier, it would not have been accepted without an exterior tag. Nobody proofreads the tags, so the failure to include proper information will not really matter.

However, those tags serve a useful purpose because the air carrier tag is sometime ripped off and that leaves the exterior tag as a backup without having to open (sometime forcibly) the bag to hunt for further information.

Frankly, anyone who can access the bag for nefarious purposes enroute can also likely access passenger information as well. Thus, a bit silly in this day and age to worry too much about this.

But, if one does want to worry, just put a business card into the tag or list your office address.

Alternatively, there are paid services which provide a coded tag and then provide your contact information only to legitimate callers from a carrier's baggage services. I always wonder whether any overworked baggage service person would bother.
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Old Aug 17, 19, 8:37 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
In this case, it is unclear to me why one would drive to LAX. Your friend had his bag tag and could have read the number over the phone and received a match just as easily. But, to each his own.
I was on the phone with Baggage Services and did read the tag number to the rep. There was still some confusion. She said the next delivery service would be picking up bags in about a half hour. She doubted if they could resolve the dual numbers by then and told me truthfully we might not get the bag until the next day or later. That is when I decided to pull the plug and just go there and get it ourselves.

The Baggage Services rep impressed me as very experienced. I believe she was giving me correct information.

The other replies are helpful, thank you. My friend is not an experienced Road Warrior. I had to twist his arm to get an Aadvantage account in the first place. He works as a free-lancer out of his own home, so there is no office address available. I will investigate the QR tags, as that sounds like a great idea. I might get a set for us as well.

My husband suggested we make up business cards with his name and home address, but make it look like that address is some kind of business. "Smith Police Supply and Home Security" came to mind.
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Old Aug 17, 19, 9:18 am
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I have a tag on the outside with name, phone, and email. I keep it reversed so that all you see on it is "see reverse for owner info". To read it, you would have to stop and undo it and pull the card out. I figure only someone that truly needs to know will go through that - the average thief will just move on to the next bag.
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Old Aug 17, 19, 9:41 am
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Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach View Post
I was on the phone with Baggage Services and did read the tag number to the rep. There was still some confusion. She said the next delivery service would be picking up bags in about a half hour. She doubted if they could resolve the dual numbers by then and told me truthfully we might not get the bag until the next day or later. That is when I decided to pull the plug and just go there and get it ourselves.

The Baggage Services rep impressed me as very experienced. I believe she was giving me correct information.

The other replies are helpful, thank you. My friend is not an experienced Road Warrior. I had to twist his arm to get an Aadvantage account in the first place. He works as a free-lancer out of his own home, so there is no office address available. I will investigate the QR tags, as that sounds like a great idea. I might get a set for us as well.

My husband suggested we make up business cards with his name and home address, but make it look like that address is some kind of business. "Smith Police Supply and Home Security" came to mind.
I don't understand. You read the tag number to the baggage claim person, and it had matched a tag matching that number and your flight routing, as well as being the same kind of bag you checked, yet there was still confusion on the part of the agent, even though nobody else had contacted them regarding a missing bag with that number.
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Old Aug 17, 19, 11:02 am
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Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach View Post
He has heard that thieves read bag names and address and, thus, know who is away on vacation.
Seems silly and paranoid, honestly.

We can say 100% for certain that bags do get lost, and in this case your friend has experienced it first hand. It sucks, and you want it to be the quickest and least pain in the ... experience possible. The thing about a burglar seeing your name and address on a luggage tag and using it to rob you is speculation. I've never heard of someone being robbed like that, of friends family and coworkers that have flown frequently for decades. Plenty have lost bags though! I go with what's known and real over some speculative off chance possibility.

Let's think of it from the perspective of a burglar though.

You go to an airport. There's limited area where you can operate without going through security etc. with a boarding pass, and through that area there's going to be almost no opportunity to be scouring bag tags. Mob of people constantly on the move with their bags close by. Everything's a rush and a blur. If by some chance you did get to get a name and address off a bag tag, there's low fractional likelihood that they're actually in an area that you're working in. People who have driven an hour or more to use this airport, people coming back from vacation, etc that live on the other side of the country. You also have no idea whether or not someone's house is actually vacant. If someone sees me going through an airport they don't know if I live alone, or have a housemate/roommate, or have the rest of my family at home, or whatever. Nor do they know if my place is worth robbing or not. They'd have to go look it up, check the neighborhood, stake the place out for activity, etc.

Why would a crook go through all that trouble for a low chance of a score, when it's infinitely easier to just pick a nearby neighborhood, stake some places out and wait for there to be zero activity in or out for several days, and hit it?

In any event I use one of those luggage tags that hides everything except the name and is affixed by a stainless steel cable that screws closed. If someone really wanted to see my details they'd have to get their hands on it and spend a minute or so undoing the whole thing without me noticing.
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Old Aug 17, 19, 11:33 am
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Originally Posted by mvoight View Post
I don't understand. You read the tag number to the baggage claim person, and it had matched a tag matching that number and your flight routing, as well as being the same kind of bag you checked, yet there was still confusion on the part of the agent, even though nobody else had contacted them regarding a missing bag with that number.
The phone rep was not at LAX, but was working off a computer query.

I thought a simple phone call would resolve the matter, but the rep admitted that going and getting it ourselves was the fastest way. Besides, we didn't want to hang around the house for the next few days waiting on the bag. We took the least bad option: drive to LAX and get it.
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Old Aug 17, 19, 11:38 am
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Originally Posted by jerseytom View Post
Seems silly and paranoid, honestly.
I agree.

He lives in an apartment building where the street-level door is always locked. There are no apartment numbers on the apartment doors. Thus, if some burglar had his name and address, that burglar would be unable to figure out which apartment (of eight in the building) is his and, thus, likely to be unoccupied. AND he shares his apartment with his sister who does not travel with him. "Silly and paranoid" does not begin to describe the opinion I had last night after four hours on the 405 in Friday traffic.

In any event I use one of those luggage tags that hides everything except the name and is affixed by a stainless steel cable that screws closed. If someone really wanted to see my details they'd have to get their hands on it and spend a minute or so undoing the whole thing without me noticing.
We are planning a trip to an outlet mall in Camarillo next week. There is a very good luggage store there. My friend has agreed to getting a tag similar to what you describe and using it.
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Old Aug 17, 19, 12:34 pm
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Originally Posted by QueenOfCoach View Post
We are planning a trip to an outlet mall in Camarillo next week. There is a very good luggage store there. My friend has agreed to getting a tag similar to what you describe and using it.
Even though I own a pair of QR tags, I have zero expectation that a baggage rep will take the time (or even be able) to scan a proprietary QR code to look up the information.
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Old Aug 17, 19, 2:37 pm
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Add one more vote for yes baggage tags and that the anti position is needlessly paranoid.

I have 6 tags on my bag, including my EXP tag and a laminated business card. It guarantees that no one else accidentally mistakes my bag for theirs and my bag is instantly identifiable at the baggage claim office or by anyone knowing what to look for (either me or an agent on the phone who I let know what to look for).

If someone wants to rob my house, they can try. Meh.
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Old Aug 17, 19, 2:55 pm
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Isn’t there some place in Alabama where all the unidentified lost luggage ends up, the contents of which are sold to the public? I’d be more paranoid that my airline barcode tag was lost and my bag and contents being shipped off to that place. Even though I rarely check a bag, my carryon items have two luggage tags with Name, Address, Email and Phone Number and a business card inside. If some thief wants to break into my home while I’m on travel, he has to get through a lot of security and surveillance cameras to do so. Also, a potential thief doesn’t know if you live alone or have family members there in your absence. Seems like a crazy scenario to consider.
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