As everyone knows, when you check a bag, they print a label sticker and affix it to your luggage, then it goes into the stream headed for the belly of the plane.
What happens if the bag gets the label, but doesn’t go into the stream? Nothing? Or do alarms go off?
Here’s some hypothetical scenarios to illustrate the question:
As passenger A boards, they force him to check the bag at the gate. However, this passenger ignores the instruction to leave his bag on the jetway and instead takes his bag onboard and finds a spot in the overhead bin since he intended to carry-on. Does passenger A have a normal flight without problems?
Passenger B is unscrupulous and does as above, but tries to claim the bag was lost by the airline in order to scam money from them. Successful?
Note: I have no intention of scamming anyone… was just wondering about this and couldn’t find the answer online.
In my experience, they usually have a stack of gate-check tags at the gate, and they don’t scan the tag before handing it to the passenger. So they have no way of knowing that a tag has been “issued” (taken) but not used.
The computers scan the tag at every opportunity. Modern systems as I understand use tags and gates on conveyors to route luggage to the correct loading point. If a bag was never scanned at all by the system, it obviously never got put into the system (or it’s stuck in the fist few feet of the conveyor system, easily checked). Good luck claiming a loss for something that never made it into the system.
One major concern of security, is did the bag get on the plane without the passenger? So boarding pass (scanned) is probably computer matched with luggage (scanned) in the computer. I would think someone should care that a baggage ticket was printed but never seen beyond there, but the major concern is the baggage was loaded but not the passenger.
(I was recently on a flight with US customs pre-clearance; the computer system was down, so we had to divert to the luggage holding and point out our bag before leaving the customs area. One agent mentioned that normally they had a photo of the associated luggage to match with the passenger boarding pass.)
Obviously, unchecked baggage with or without tags is scanned by the TSA security checkpoint if it is to become carry-on, so taking your checked baggage still does not expedite carrying contraband onboard.
Yes, one half goes on the bag, the other half goes in the passenger’s pocket. If the passenger gate checks a bag it’s going on the plane either in the baggage compartment or the passenger compartment and what scr4 said is absolutely correct. The airline would have no way of knowing if the passenger carried it on board unless the boarding agent or flight crew observed it.
The last time I flew (I think it was US Airways), there was literally a bin full of gate-check tags for the passengers to take. Of course each tag has a unique code, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be printed on demand.
In fact, now that I think about it, I asked whether I need to gate-check my bag and the attendant said: “Maybe. Take a tag in case you need to.” So they clearly don’t keep track of which tags get issued to which passenger, or whether they’re used at all.