New ‘Numbered Checked Bag Tags’ Are Coming To American Airlines Next Year

America Airlines is redesigning its bag tags, for use when you check luggage. The idea of these new tags is to help avoid lost luggage when you’re connecting between flights. The new tags will be numbered based how much time you have for your connecting flight, and if all goes well will debut early next year.

  • A “one” means a tight connection and tells the airline to load your bags last, so they’re first off.
  • They’ll also number tags for connecting bags two or three.

That’s helpful when everything goes right with your first flight. But if you start with a long connection, and the your first flight is delayed, your bag may not make it even if you do you. That’s because you were initially assigned a “three” so your bags wind up taking the longest.

If you change flights, and don’t have a seat assignment for the new flight, assume your bag won’t make it (by design). So irregular operations, which drives a lot of bags that don’t make it on your flight, still will be a driver of problems.

While oneworld partner Alaska Airlines is rolling out permanent electronic bag tags that customers can affix to bags, American has no plans to do this – or to use RFID technology to track bags – but we can expect a new design for bag tags next year meant to reduce lost bags on connecting itineraries.

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