Last weekend, German airline Lufthansa caused some controversy among its customers by claiming that it is now banning AirTags in checked luggage from its flights. Despite tweets from Lufthansa’s official Twitter account saying that the trackers are considered “dangerous goods,” the company now says that it is not banning Apple’s AirTag.
On Twitter, some customers asked Lufthansa about the rumors of AirTags being banned from the company’s flights. Lufthansa responded from its official account saying that, more specifically, it is now “banning activated AirTags from luggage as they are classified as dangerous.”
According to Lufthansa, owners of AirTag (and presumably other similar trackers) must turn off the devices before checking their bags. The company then justified its decision on the grounds that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines state that objects with a transmission function must be deactivated during a flight.
A Lufthansa spokesman told Airways Magazine that Lufthansa has not banned AirTags from its flights. However, the company notes that there is a “standing ICAO regulation on such devices, but this has nothing to do with Lufthansa or any other carrier.” It’s unclear at this point what led the airline to say publicly that it would ban AirTags from its flights.
While ICAO does indeed have specific regulation for electronic devices in checked luggage, this only applies to those with lithium ion batteries, such as smartphones and tablets. Apple’s AirTag uses a CR2032 battery, which is small and not considered dangerous to the safety of a flight. After all, these are the same batteries used by traditional watches.
As noted by the report, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) determines the rules about what can be carried on board an aircraft. Airlines can make minor changes to their own policies, but it seems that Lufthansa would not have enough decision-making power to ban AirTags – especially when other airlines don’t seem to care about that.
There is a reason why Lufthansa may have considered banning Apple’s AirTag from its flights. As we have covered in the past, there have been multiple reports of people finding their luggage lost by airlines thanks to AirTag.
Apple’s item tracker can easily be placed pretty much anywhere. Since it communicates with other Apple devices around and does not require an internet connection, it is a great option for tracking things like backpacks and suitcases.
Earlier this year, a man succeeded in recovering his luggage that was lost by Aer Lingus during a trip. Although the company claimed that it had no idea where the bags were, AirTags showed him their location, which helped the police get there and recover the bags. Situations like this make airlines embarrassed, which may lead them to consider banning item trackers.
Hopefully this will not become a trend among other airlines.
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