Last weekend, German airline Lufthansa caused some controversy among its customers by claiming it is now banning AirTags in checked baggage from its flights. Despite tweets from Lufthansa’s official Twitter account stating that the trackers are considered “dangerous goods,” the company now says it’s not banning Apple’s AirTag.
on Twitter, some customers asked Lufthansa about the rumors that AirTags would be banned from the company’s flights. Lufthansa responded from its official account, saying it is now more specifically “banning activated AirTags from baggage because they are classified as dangerous”.
According to Lufthansa, AirTag owners (and presumably other similar trackers) should turn off the devices before checking their bags. The company then motivated its decision by arguing that International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines state that objects with a transmit function must be deactivated during a flight.
A Lufthansa spokesperson told: Aviation magazine that Lufthansa has not excluded AirTags from its flights. However, the company notes that there is “firm ICAO regulation for such devices, but this has nothing to do with Lufthansa or any other carrier.” It is unclear at this time what prompted the airline to say publicly that it would ban AirTags from its flights.
While ICAO does have specific regulations for electronic devices in checked baggage, it only applies to devices with lithium-ion batteries, such as smartphones and tablets. Apple’s AirTag uses a CR2032 battery, which is small and not considered hazardous to flight safety. After all, these are the same batteries used by traditional watches.
As noted in the report, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) sets 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 doesn’t have enough decision-making power to ban AirTags — especially when other airlines don’t seem to care.
There’s a reason Lufthansa may have considered banning Apple’s AirTag from its flights. As we have discussed in the past, there have been multiple reports of people having their luggage lost by airlines thanks to AirTag.
Apple’s item tracker can be placed just about anywhere. Since it communicates with other Apple devices nearby and doesn’t require an internet connection, it’s a great option for tracking things like backpacks and briefcases.
Earlier this year, a man managed to recover his luggage that was lost during a trip through Aer Lingus. Although the company claimed to have no idea where the bags were, AirTags showed him their location, which helped police get there and recover the bags. Such situations embarrass airlines, which may lead them to consider banning item trackers.
Hopefully this will not become a trend with other airlines.
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