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After being incredibly clear on social media that AirTags weren’t allowed on Lufthansa flights, the airline has caved and is now allowing them.
After a chaotic weekend for Lufthansa where its social media presence made it clear that Apple’s AirTags weren’t welcome in checked baggage, the airline seems to have reconsidered. In a Tweet, the airline made it clear that the trackers are now allowed.
The German Aviation Authorities (Luftfahrtbundesamt) confirmed today, that they share our risk assessment, that tracking devices with very low battery and transmission power in checked luggage do not pose a safety risk. With that these devices are allowed on Lufthansa flights.
— Lufthansa News (@lufthansaNews) October 12, 2022
It’s unclear why Lufthansa said that the Luftfahrtbundesamt shares its risk assessment of AirTags. The airline was explicit over the weekend that they considered the devices unsafe for flight, despite international airline regulations being clear about the matter.
AppleInsider contacted six Lufthansa flight employees in the US who are not authorized to speak on behalf of the company while preparing this story. Three thought that the ban was still in place, two didn’t know about the ban, and one didn’t know what an AirTag was, or how it worked. So, it’s not clear if the new guidance — or any information at all — has been promulgated completely.
Following initial reports in German media, the airline’s Twitter account was asked to confirm that a ban was in place. In one tweet, the rumor is confirmed with Lufthansa “banning activated AirTags from luggage as they are classified as dangerous and need to be turned off.”
Pressed further on the classification, the airline claims “According to ICAO guidelines, baggage trackers are subject to the dangerous goods regulations. Furthermore, due to their transmission function, the trackers must be deactivated during the flight if they are in checked baggage and cannot be used as a result.”
The airline’s claim about International Civilian Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines was entirely wrong. The regulation that Lufthansa is citing specifically talks about lithium ion battery regulations, such as those used in larger devices like a MacBook Pro that have more than 2 grams of lithium. An AirTag uses a battery with about 0.2 grams of lithium — far too small to be considered an issue under the guidelines.
If AirTags were banned because of lithium content, then most battery-powered watches would need to be as well.
AppleInsider spoke with multiple international aviation experts before our report on October 9, and more since. Universally, they have told us over several days that Lufthansa’s ban wasn’t based on anything in the regulation. One went so far as to say that the ban was “a way to stop Lufthansa from being embarrassed by lost luggage.”