It all depends on what we call Baggage handling system (BHS), or the airport baggage handling system which ensures the transport of suitcases on departure, arrival and in transit.

To ensure your suitcase passes through the system smoothly, small barcode stickers are applied during check-in as an additional identification check.

They are scanned if the main label on the baggage handle – the one which indicates the traveler's first and last name, the destination airport, a barcode and a numerical code – is damaged or is not readable by the scanners.

However, if you don't remove old barcode labels, you run the risk of “miscategorization.” In other words: it is possible that they will be scanned instead of the new ones and that the suitcase – in the worst case scenario – will be “lost”.

It's best to always remove small barcode tags from your luggage after the flight or, better yet, as soon as you collect your luggage. (iStock)

Where do the suitcases end up?

The barcode on the label is in fact fundamental because it is scanned by a system capable of separating baggage according to the flight, through a series of largely automated routes. Additionally, if necessary, this code can also be scanned to reprint the main label.

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Yes, because the luggage ends up in a veritable maze of conveyor belts, which sort thousands of bags every hour. HAS Milan-Malpensafor example, there is a total of 22 kilometers of strip.

“Bad mission”

“Older barcodes can actually lead to incorrect readings in automatic baggage handling systems. If there are several different labels on a suitcase, there may not be a clear attribution,” he told the portal. Travel news a spokesperson for Suisseportone of the largest airport handling and services companies.

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The suitcase handled by an operator (and the delays which take longer)

In the event that certain bags are not scanned automatically, they are subjected to another round in the coding station then sent to an operator and scanned manually; the flight number is entered into the system and the suitcase is sent back to the baggage handling system.

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However, if a bag has to be processed manually, delays are extended and therefore the risk that the suitcase cannot be loaded onto the plane in time and is left on the ground increases.

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