If you travel frequently, eventually, you stop seeing the double-sided bag tag affixed every time you check a bag at the airport. But, that long sticker contains a surprisingly complex design utilizing modern technology.
What looks like a simple paper tag is actually designed to survive scorching deserts, freezing winters, heavy rain, hooks, snags, and even tears, all while remaining easy to remove when you reach your final destination. By the way, the tags aren't made of paper.
Plain old paper can’t begin to meet all these requirements. The winning combination is what IATA’s spokesperson described as a “complex composite” of silicon and plastic; the only paper in it is in the adhesive backing.