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 What Does “Insert Item Into Bag (OTB)” Mean?

You’re waiting on a delivery from overseas and you have received an “Insert Item Into Bag (OTB)” tracking alert.

What does this mean? Whose bag has the package been inserted into and is there anything you need to do?

Let’s take a look…

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Summary: Insert Item Into Bag (OTB)

The “Insert Item Into Bag (OTB)” tracking update means that the package has literally been loaded into a bag along with other shipments. After this, the bag is loaded onto the aircraft for departure from the origin country. OTB means Outward Bound, meaning that the item is leaving a country.

Insert Item Into Bag (OTB) – Guide

Insert Item Into Bag otb

Essentially, the “Insert Item Into Bag (OTB)” update is a good one to receive.

It means the item has passed through customs in the origin country and has been placed into a bag alongside other packages ready for export.

As you can see from the image below, “Bag” is meant quite literally. Bags are filled with shipments that are then loaded into the hold of the aircraft.

The update is triggered after this takes place, with departure from the origin country occurring once the loaded aircraft takes flight.

What Happens After the “Insert Item Into Bag (OTB)” Update?

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The next tracking alert you will receive after “Insert Item Into Bag (OTB)” is a notification that the shipment has arrived at either the destination country or intermediate transit country.

This of course depends on the distance traveled and the route taken.

An Intermediate transit country is required if the distances between the origin and destination are too long.

Example updates would be “Arrived at Destination Hub“, and “The Plane Entered the Port

However, carriers do differ in that some will not send alerts upon arrival and will only do so after the item has been handed to customs.

How Long Will my Tracking be Stuck on “Insert Item Into Bag (OTB)”?

clock stuck in sand

You may well have found this article because your tracking is seemingly stuck on “Insert Item Into Bag (OTB)”.

There are several reasons your tracking may be slow to update to the next alert.

Expectations are an important variable to keep in check. Remember, your package will be in the air after the update.

It will not receive another scan until being unloaded from the plane. This could take anything between 24 to 48hrs later.

If your tracking is stuck for several days, you do have grounds for concern. Here’s a short list of what may be happening and where your package actually is.

You’re Checking the Tracking in the Wrong Place

tracking details search

A number of carriers will stop tracking a package once it leaves the origin country, (especially country-specific postal services). 

This means if you are checking the consignment number using the origin carrier database, you might not receive any further information after the “Insert Item Into Bag (OTB)” update.

You can check this by using a universal tracking app such as 17Track and ParcelsApp.

These services will scan hundreds of carrier databases to see if any details can be found regarding your shipment.

If an alternative carrier is now responsible and has provided updated tracking information, this will be revealed.

Logistical Issues


There is also a chance that logistics have impacted the flight out from the origin country, or in and out of an intermediate transit. 

Everything from technical failures, to shipments being loaded onto the wrong plane, (or failing to leave on the scheduled flight) will add days to the transit time.

With no further updates, it will seem like your tracking is stuck on “Insert Item Into Bag (OTB)”.

Eventually, however, your shipment should reach the destination country and be scanned for a new alert.

Customs Clearance


Although you should receive an alert as the package is handed over to customs, if this hasn’t happened and there has been an issue during customs processing, this will definitely cause a delay in the progress of the shipment.

On the plus side, the carrier responsible for the next stage of the shipment inside the destination country should contact you or the shipper if there are any steps that need to be taken in regard to the successful import of the item.

What to do if Your Tracking is Stuck?

Insert Item Into Bag

If your tracking is stuck for more than 7 days you should begin making inquiries.

We’ll assume that you have used a universal tracking app during this time, and no further information has been revealed.

Now it will be time to contact either the carrier in the origin country, (the original carrier) or if you know which service is currently responsible, them instead.

A representative should be able to provide an explanation as to the location of your package and what the delay is.

Contact the Sender

girl frustrated on computer

You should also contact the sender to notify them of the delay.

Very often the origin carrier will be able to work more efficiently with the sender as it is they that made the original shipment order.

In circumstances where the shipment is an eCommerce order, the seller will definitely need to be made aware.

If the package ends up lost they will need to provide a replacement and/or take it up with the carrier to make a claim.

E-commerce platforms also have buyer protection periods so it is worth checking this too, should the package really end ups missing for a long period of time.

Final Words

As mentioned, the “Insert Item Into Bag (OTB)” update is a good one to get.

It means that your package has been loaded into a bag with other items and will soon be leaving the origin country on a plane.

If all goes to plan, your item will experience no issues going through customs in the destination country and will be delivered within just a few days.

If delays occur, the guidance in this article should help you get to the bottom of it.

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