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I lost a bag on a flight from BKK -> ARN -> CPH two weeks ago. I immediately filed a report at CPH when the bag hadn't arrived after more than an hour of waiting. Since then there has been no updates of the bags whereabouts on the tracing website.

As a layman, the only reasonable explanation for the bag being missing for more than a few days seems to be that the luggage tag has somehow fallen off the bag. If the luggage still has a tag and is sitting somewhere in an airport - be it at BKK, ARN or CPH - surely someone would have noticed it by now and scanned the tag?

However, when reading about why luggage gets lost, and especially seeing photos of lost luggage at auctions, it seems that it's entirely possible for a bag to still have its tag with barcodes intact and yet be "missing".

How can this be? Surely the system must be built in such a way that a luggage handler can scan the bag tag at any time and either find the missing luggage report or the contact details of the passenger? Or is the luggage handling identification system a lot dumber than I imagine? I read somewhere that "after 3 days the barcode is reused for other passengers luggage", which sounds too stupid to be true.

It would be interesting to know how it works, perhaps someone here can shed a light?

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    $\begingroup$ To the downvoter: Please explain why you voted, especially to a new user! @Magnus, I think this question is only borderline related to aviation and might be a better fit for travel.stackexchange, where all passenger related questions should go. $\endgroup$ – Bianfable Nov 3 '19 at 9:04
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    $\begingroup$ Just a thought, but i think a question like this is waaaay more likely to reach someone who can answer it here than on travel SE... $\endgroup$ – Jpe61 Nov 3 '19 at 15:34
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    $\begingroup$ To the moderators who say that the question is off topic - it's clearly about ground operations, airport-operations and baggage-handling-systems, exactly as tagged with tags that exist on Aviation StackExchange and not on Travel StackExchange. $\endgroup$ – Magnus W Nov 3 '19 at 16:27
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps for the same reason that I sometimes get mail or packages that are addressed to my neighbors. People and machines make errors. Nevertheless, this has nothing whatsoever to do with aviation, so downvoted. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Nov 4 '19 at 2:15
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    $\begingroup$ @Magnus W: If you want a technical answer, ask the question in an appropriate place. Baggage or package handling has nothing to do with aviation, so it's pretty unlikely that you'll get a better answer here. Even for commercial pilots, it's just stuff that goes in the hold :-) $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Nov 4 '19 at 17:56