Lufthansa is reportedly banning Apple AirTags in luggage

With the increase in lost bags, travelers are getting smarter and starting to track their own with AirTags. However, Lufthansa has other ideas.

Lufthansa has banned the use of AirTags to track travelers’ luggage. This sets an interesting precedent.

What is an AirTag?

Apple AirTags are an easy way to keep track of your belongings. Just attach it to an item and you can track its location through your Apple device. Although probably not the original intention, these have become very popular with those who want to follow their checked bags when travelling.

Although many airlines offer baggage tracking, it’s beneficial to know exactly where your checked baggage is located. It is an advantage if your luggage is delayed or lost as airlines can be difficult to catch. So far, there have been no reports of other airlines being banned, as German media reports that European airline giant Lufthansa has banned the use of AirTags in passengers’ checked baggage.


Apple’s selling point for the AirTag:

Misplacing something like your wallet doesn’t have to be a big deal when AirTag is attached. You can play a sound through the built-in speaker by going to the new Items tab in the Find My app or by saying “Hey Siri, find my wallet.” If it’s hiding nearby – like under the couch or in the next room – follow the sound and your search is over.

A previous SimpleFlying article highlighted the benefits of the AirTag.

AirTags have become an easy way for travelers to ensure their luggage made it onto the plane. Photo: apple

What is the problem?

Airlines have realized that these tracking devices allow passengers to see that their luggage has gone missing, possibly before the airline. For example, reports of a traveler asking to find their luggage or to be unloaded themselves simply by tracking an Apple AirTag. Such simple requests could affect an airline’s punctuality and have knock-on effects for connecting passengers.

IATA attitude

While the International Air Transport Association (IATA) sets the rules for what can and cannot be carried in checked baggage and publishes these in its Dangerous Goods Regulations manual, AirTags have yet to be adopted. The IATA guideline states that “electronic devices in checked baggage must be completely turned off”. Apparently, Lufthansa used this reference to justify the AirTag ban.

Frankfurt Airport has come under scrutiny over the past few months for staff shortages, which has led to long lines at baggage claim. Photo: Thomas Boon – Easy to fly

European airports lose baggage

No wonder travelers are taking baggage tracking into their own hands. Lost bags piled up at Frankfurt Airport as customers faced “disgraceful” queues and last-minute cancellations. Staff shortages, last-minute flight cancellations and booming passenger numbers have unleashed a perfect storm at the ailing German airport.

Passengers have described the airport as “complete and utter chaos” and “the worst thing they have ever experienced”. Photos taken inside the terminal show winding rows of suitcases unclaimed by their owners.

Some passengers have said that luggage that has been in the terminals for up to 10 days starts to smell.

Will other airlines follow suit? Only time can tell.

Sources: One Mile At A Time, Apple, AirwaysMag, Euronews

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