Luggage tags, printed at self-service check-ins, typically come with a set of three small barcode stickers at one end. What am I supposed to do with them?

  1. Peel them off and place them around the bag?
  2. Leave them where they are?

Does it matter whether I am dropping the bag off at a manned counter, or at an unmanned self-service drop-off point (for example at Stockholm ARN, terminal 5)?

I have always done (1), trying to put them so as to optimize barcode visibility from all angles, but I recently handed in a bag at a manned counter where the person taking it told me that because the stickers were "missing" (i.e, no longer on the piece of paper looped around the bag handle), he had to print a new tag to replace the one I had.

(If this is location dependent, I have observed these tags at least in Stockholm (ARN), London (LHR), Manchester (MAN) and Edinburgh (EDI).)

  • Can you find a photo of what you are talking about? Apr 4, 2018 at 14:06
  • I just flew out of Heathrow on American and an agent peeled them off and put them on my suitcase on various sides.
    – mkennedy
    Apr 4, 2018 at 15:31
  • If we are talking about the very small stickers (less than 1 cm wide, 2 or 3 of them), then the person at the counter either missed the fact that you had put the stickers on the bag yourself (and did so with the new ones he printed), or should probably go back to training. All manual check-ins always end up with these put in different places on the bag, I suppose as "backup" to quickly identify the bag if the main tag goes missing (or possibly as another barcode which could be caught by the automated readers, though I think they're a bit too small for that and are probably only used manually).
    – jcaron
    Apr 4, 2018 at 17:30
  • @jcaron: Yes, those are the ones I am talking about. And I have reasons to believe he was in training! :-) Apr 5, 2018 at 5:34

1 Answer 1


Long ago, when a check-in desk agent used to weigh and put the large tag on your suitcase, those little barcodes were separated and stuck on your case in various places. I presume this was to serve the baggage handling system in the event the main tag came off.

Only a few weeks ago, I flew BA from Heathrow (short haul to France) and used the automated bag drop. I asked the attendant what to do with the little barcodes. She said "Do nothing. We don't use them any more". Of course things may vary at other airports.

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