What Is a Luggage Tracker?

Cindy Quarters

Airlines lose or mishandle tens of millions of suitcases and other items of checked baggage every year. This represents a very small percentage of the bags actually handled, but for anyone whose bag was lost, it represents inconvenience at the very least, and a potential loss of irreplaceable items from distant lands at the worst. A luggage tracker is a more reliable means of identifying luggage than the paper tags or flimsy identification often used.

Airlines routinely lose or mishandle passengers' luggage.
Airlines routinely lose or mishandle passengers' luggage.

In general, a luggage tracker is a tag that is attached to a traveler’s baggage before check in at the airport. The tag has a code on it that is linked to the owner’s personal information. Rather than displaying the person’s name, address, and phone number on a tag where anybody can read it, a luggage tracker has the company’s information on the tag, and the identification code on the tag is linked to the owner’s information in the company database. This prevents unscrupulous baggage handlers from gaining access to the addresses of people who are obviously not at home.

In general, a luggage tracker is a tag that is attached to a traveler’s baggage before check in at the airport.
In general, a luggage tracker is a tag that is attached to a traveler’s baggage before check in at the airport.

Luggage trackers are available in two main styles. The first is a sturdy tag that attaches to the luggage with a strong strap that is not likely to be broken or accidentally unfastened. The second style is a sticker that adheres firmly to any flat, smooth surface, though it must be rubbed into the fabric of some soft-sided luggage. Stickers are available for both inside and outside of suitcases.

The style of luggage tracker a person chooses is largely a matter of personal preference, as both types have compelling advantages. Stickers attach directly to the luggage and will remain even if the suitcase handle breaks. Tags attach to the handle or another location on the luggage and cannot be scraped off when rubbed against other luggage or equipment. It is up to the buyer to decide which works best for him or her.

Should the conventional paper luggage tags placed on suitcases by the airlines become lost, the bags may be considered untraceable and the luggage will end up being sold at auction. Adding a luggage tracker tag adds another level of security to the bag, providing a more enduring means of identification that can be traced from anywhere in the world. If the owner moves, a quick update to the database keeps the luggage trackers valid without the need to purchase anything else.

Some airline passengers use trackers to guard against the loss or theft of checked baggage.
Some airline passengers use trackers to guard against the loss or theft of checked baggage.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


These things actually do work, surprisingly. My friend and I were traveling somewhere, and her suitcase was lost along the line. Luckily, she is a frequent traveler and already had one of the barcode trackers attached to her suitcase. We got to where we were going and the bag never showed up.

I don't know exactly how it works, but she called the company, and they said that the barcode had been scanned at another airport. The airline, of course, ended up paying to have the suitcase flown back on the next flight to the city where we were staying. I think they even offered her some sort of travel voucher.

My friend didn't have anything valuable in the suitcase, just clothes, but if you were someone who often traveled with valuable clothes or souvenirs, it would definitely be worth buying a luggage tracker.


Besides the tags you can rent from internet sites, I have seen GPS tracking systems at the airport. They are usually at the kiosks spread throughout the terminal area before you check your bags.

It is basically just what it sounds like. You get a little GPS transmitter that you throw into your bag. If you get to your destination and your bag isn't there, you just find another of the kiosks, and they will search for the transmitter to see where your luggage is. I don't know if it is the case with all of them, but the one I was looking at could actually make the bag start beeping. I guess that is to get the attention of a baggage handler or someone to alert them they need to send the luggage somewhere else.


@cardsfan27 - I actually looked into getting one for a family member for Christmas last year but someone else had already gotten her one. She travels a lot for business and has had a couple of bags get lost in the past.

From what I understand of the luggage trackers, they are basically a tag with a barcode like the article mentions. Somehow you program the thing with your address and phone number and that type of information. The barcode is compatible with all of the airlines, apparently, so they can scan it that way if the bag ever gets misplaced.

There are a couple of different companies I found that make them. All the ones I found you had to order the tag online. There were different styles and features. Some of them connected to your cell phone, so if you reported the bag lost and the code got scanned somewhere, it would send you a text message. The whole system is pretty neat, really.


I have never heard of anything like this before. I am not quite sure if I understand it right or not. First of all, do you get one of the luggage trackers from the airline itself, or is it something that you would buy from a third party and attach to your luggage? It doesn't really seem like it would make much sense for the airline to give you something like that, since they already put on a tag.

It sounds like it is more of a replacement for the normal luggage tags but is a bar code instead, so you don't have to worry about anyone getting your information. In that case, where would you even buy one of these? I am pretty sure I have never seen them sold anywhere. How exactly do they work?

Post your comments
Forgot password?