Airline Luggage Tags: those kind of cool, kind of annoying tags that airlines wrap around the handle of your luggage. (Or, more frequently, you attempt to DIY at the ticket kiosk.) Those tags contain important information about your bags, and sensitive information about you!
#Travel140 Travel Tips:
With airline baggage tags, it’s Off with the Old before it’s On with the New.
People seem to fall into three camps:
- – Those who rip them off the second they leave the airport.
- – Those who save them.
- – And those who just leave them on the bags.
If you fall into that last camp, you, my friend, are just begging to lose a bag. Maybe more.
What Luggage Tags Mean for Your Bags
Baggage handlers, and all of the electronic gizmos that direct your luggage through the belly of the aiport, read those tags to find out where you bags are supposed to be going. When they’re handling thousands of bags a day, there’s no time to sort though which tag is the right one. They will eyeball it – or scan it – and send it on its way. If you have older tags on your bags, there’s no guarantee the right tag will be scanned.
So, wherever you are headed, if you have a couple of old baggage tags on your luggage, it may not be joining you.
What Luggage Tags Mean for You
Scanners at the airport read your luggage tags to determine how to direct your bags, but anyone with a bar code reader may be able to find out a lot more about you than you might expect. The information encoded in those strips and grids can include your name, address, and frequent flyer number, and possibly more personal information. You may think the risk is low, but consider that bar code readers can be purchased online by anyone. Bar Code apps can downloaded to smartphones, sometimes for free.
It makes perfect sense to safeguard this information, right? You can do that by disposing of your old luggage tags as soon as you leave the airport. Don’t leave the tags at the airport; that’s just easy pickin’s for identity thieves. Instead, take them with you to dispose of – or better yet, shred – at your home or hotel. If you can’t shred the tags, use a black marker to make the bar codes unreadable.
Tag Keeper? Read on.
If you’re in the second group that likes to hang on to luggage tags as a free souvenir, join the crowd. We do too, and have a shoebox full of them. What do you do with yours?
If you are at least a little bit crafty, our friends Phil & Garth have a great solution. Check out their post, 20 Ways to Collect and Display Souvenirs.
Let us know what you do with your old luggage tags. Do you ditch them on landing, or hang on to them as “free” souvenirs? Feel free to share your favorite souvenir and travel tips. We’ll re-post the best tips, so be sure to include your Twitter handle and a link to your blog, if you have one. Or click for more #Travel140!