Traveling can be hectic, especially if you’re flying. You have to get to the airport early, go through security, and hope the airline doesn’t lose your baggage along the way. Luckily, the chances of having your bags misplaced is slim thanks to luggage tags. They provide the airlines with vital information to help reunite you with your lost suitcases.

How do luggage tags help you travel? What information should go on your tags? Sit back and enjoy your flight as we learn more about why we label our suitcases!

What Are Luggage Tags?

Luggage tags are a form of identification for your suitcases. Whether you travel by boat, train, or plane, chances are your bags will be tagged accordingly. Luggage tags are used for three major reasons:

  1. Help a passenger identify their bag at the baggage carousel.
  2. Prove a person wasn’t stealing someone else’s luggage.
  3. Track missing baggage.

Overall, luggage tags have made traveling more efficient. They ensure your baggage gets to the correct destination, meaning you can worry less the next time you’re on the go!

What is the History of Luggage Tags?

Before airplanes, people used to travel the world in large steamboats, labeling their belongings with paper tags. However, ships mostly used them for advertising and to distinguish each passenger’s social class.

Once traveling by air was possible, chauffeurs would drive passengers with their bags to the side of the aircraft. Stewards would then load the luggage directly from the car into the plane, eliminating a need for tags until the 1920s. As air travel became more affordable to the public, chauffeurs were unable to keep up with the increased demand. Luggage tags became a necessity, so airports adopted their own and added an extra line to include the bag’s weight.

By 1992, paper tags started getting replaced with digitally printed ones. These were way more productive in preventing luggage from getting lost. Each tag was printed with a barcode to be scanned at every checkpoint. Therefore, if your bags were to get lost, airlines would know exactly when and where based on the tracking info.

Nowadays, you can travel in style with your own custom luggage tag. You’ll have the convenience of the airline’s barcode tag as well as one that makes your bags stand out!

About 97% of all lost bags are found and returned to their owners within two days thanks to luggage tags!

Who Invented Luggage Tags?

The first known luggage “ticket” was patented by John Michael Lyons in 1882 for railroad companies. They were labeled with the name of the station that issued the ticket, the passenger’s final destination, and a number that matched the owner’s personal train ticket. Lyons made the tags out of paper and attached them with a piece of string. They were used as a receipt to prove you paid to be on the train and that your bags actually belonged to you.

Although the method of using paper and string is outdated, luggage tags are still important in travel. They continue to help airlines keep track of baggage, preventing suitcases from being lost or stolen. Small changes such as adding barcodes or using more durable materials have made a huge difference in the overall function of modern luggage tags.

Back in 1882, luggage tags were actually called “baggage checks.”

What Information Should You Put on Your Luggage Tags?

It’s important that you only put necessary information on your luggage tag, like your name, email address, and phone number. Avoiding information like your home address or social security number can further help protect you and your identity.

Here’s all the information you should and shouldn’t include on your luggage tags:


  • Your first and last name
  • Email address
  • Cell phone number
  • Photo of yourself (optional)


  • Home address
  • Social security number

By following these tips, you should be able to find your luggage in the rare event it gets lost. The last thing you want is to start your trip without your personal belongings!

Why Should You Use a Luggage Tag?

Airports can be pretty crowded at high-peak times. For every 1,000 passengers, 6 bags are lost or stolen, and 47% of all bags are delivered to their owner late. Thankfully, having luggage that is easy to recognize can help you save time and prevent your suitcases from being stolen.

These are all the reasons why you should use a luggage tag:

  • Easy to spot
  • Durable
  • Unique
  • Identifies your bag

Easy to spot

Bright colors and fun shapes are easy to see from a baggage claim. In a sea of suitcases, you’ll want to spot yours right away!


Unlike the old paper tickets, luggage tags are made to last. They won’t rip or tear and are less likely to fall off.


Whether you want to make a fashion statement or show off your love for sandals, you can find a luggage tag to fit your style.

Identifies your bag

A luggage tag is like a driver’s license for your suitcase. If anything were to happen to your bags, airlines would know who they belong to!

Tips on Keeping Your Luggage Safe

Over 4.3 billion people traveled via commercial airlines in 2018. Of those people, about 25.8 million lost their bags or experienced delays getting their belongings back. Here are some tips to keep in mind to keep your luggage safe on your next adventure!

  • Pack valuables in your carry-on.
  • Take pictures of your bag and its content.
  • Place luggage tags on the inside and outside of your bags.
  • Put your itinerary or business card inside your luggage.
  • Use a lock.
  • Check your luggage in on time.
  • Avoid connecting flights.
  • Double check the airport tag for accuracy.
  • Remove old tags from previous trips.
  • Track your bags on your mobile device.
  • Notify the airline immediately if you suspect your luggage is lost.

Pack valuables in your carry-on

Items with personal information on them, or anything you’d be devastated to lose, should be kept with you at all times. Some examples include laptops, travel documents, jewelry, and cash.

Take pictures of your bag and its content

Taking a picture of the outside and inside of your bag will help airport staff find your luggage faster. It’s also a good idea to know what’s inside your suitcase in case anything is misplaced or stolen.

Place luggage tags on the inside and outside of your bags

Adding another luggage tag to the inside of your bag is a good fail-safe. Now if the luggage tag on the outside were to ever fall off, airline staff can still track you down.

Use a lock

Locks are a good way to prevent others from stealing your things. However, make sure it meets airport guidelines before putting it on your suitcase.

Put your itinerary or business card inside your luggage

Going on a business trip? Place an itinerary or business card inside your luggage. If it’s found, you’ll be easier to get a hold of because the airline will know exactly where or how to find you.

Check your luggage in on time

If you check in 30 minutes before your plane takes off, there’s a big chance your bags won’t make it on the same flight. Getting to the airport early gives your bags more time to get checked-in and onto the plane.

Avoid connecting flights

Transferring from one plane to another is the number one opportunity for luggage to get lost. Try flying non-stop to your destination to avoid this common mishap.

Double check the airport tag for accuracy

Even if you have your own luggage tag, airports also tag your bags with your flight number, destination, and a barcode. Double check this information to make sure it’s accurate and that your name is spelled correctly.

Remove old tags from previous trips

Airlines use barcodes to scan and track your luggage. Removing old tags will prevent their employees from scanning the wrong tag.

Track your bags on your mobile device

In 2015, Delta Airlines was the first to offer a baggage tracking app via your mobile phone or tablet. You’ll know exactly where your bag is at all times at the push of a button.

Notify the airline immediately if you suspect your luggage is lost

Seek assistance right away and file a claim if you can’t find your luggage. They’ll be on the lookout immediately and contact you as soon as your bags are found.

When airlines are unable to reunite lost luggage with their owners, they often sell unclaimed bags to auction houses.

Stats for Success

Thanks to luggage tags, only 3% of all bags are actually lost or stolen.

99% of lost bags with luggage tags are returned to their rightful owners.

On average, people spend $31 billion a year on luggage.

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re flying to Texas or the Bahamas, luggage tags will help make sure your bags are on the same airplane. They’ve been used for years, and with more durable materials than ever before, they’re here to stay! From neon colors to your favorite characters, you can’t go wrong with a great luggage tag.


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About the author

Kyrsten Ledger

Kyrsten is a promo expert with a passion for branding . Her vast knowledge of promotional giveaways and marketing has led to several articles and published work for PPB Magazine, a publication from the Promotional Products Association International.