To Lose or Not To Lose? Cool New Microchip Bag Tag.

A few months ago Southwest Airlines misplaced my friend Julia’s suitcase on a non-stop flight. YIKES. Okay, stuff happens. But here’s the rub: when Julia asked the airline to tell her if her bag was still in Phoenix, where she’d boarded, or on it’s way to El Paso, where she’d landed, or, for that matter en route to Timbuktu, they couldn’t tell her. Their reply; “Um, sorry mam, but we don’t have a scanning system for luggage.” Huh? You mean the grapes at my local co-op have a bar code, but not my luggage? As a Southwest frequent flyer, I was NOT thrilled to hear this.

Last year alone the number of items of luggage misplaced by airlines rose from 30 million to 42 million, an increase of 40%. In addition, receiving compensation for a lost item of luggage is dodgy at best unless receipts can be provided for everything that was in the lost bag. Hence, the need for travel insurance. But that’s a story for another day.

A new UK startup, ReboundTAG, has been working with help from the International Air Transport Association along with several airport systems developers to come up with a better solution. Their answer to the problem is a microchip bag tag designed to reduce the chances of losing personal belongings. There is also a barcode and number printed on the microchip bag tag to insure that they function in airports where there are no microchip readers.

And here’s the really cool part, when the luggage is found the owner receives an email and an SMS (text) to their mobile phone immediately. If the bag is found by an airline, they can simply contact you and forward it to wherever you are staying (if you have entered those details in your online members’ area) or get it back to your home address.  If the luggage is found outside an airport the finder cannot see the owner’s details and can only send him or her SMS (text) and email messages through the ReboundTAG system. All the finder has to do is follow the instructions printed on the tag to go to and click “I’ve Found Something”. The owner of the tag can also keep their tag anonymous so that when the airlines find it they can only send them SMS and email messages and do not see their details. Fingers crossed for good Samaritans.

I just received my ReboundTAG  and plan to keep it attached to my Patagonia Freewheeler, my checked bag of choice for the past decade. The tag looks to be pretty indestructible, but we’ll see. I’ll keep you posted.

The ReboundTAG doesn’t include any personal details, but uses a unique ID corresponding to a private database. The tag also includes a second microchip that allows the most modern airports to encode my flight data onto the tag whenever I fly.


  • Cost: £19.99 (about $30), includes three years membership, during which it can be used as often as desired.
  • More than 20 airports have implemented microchip systems and many more airports have microchip readers; those that do not can simply use the barcode or number printed on the Microchip Bag Tag for identification.
  • Website: , also see FAQ


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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".