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Is Lufthansa banning AirTags from checked luggage?

Updated Oct 19th, 2022 11:09AM EDT
Apple AirTags
Image: Apple Inc.

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Apple’s AirTags are great at finding lost or stolen items, and you can use them to track luggage while traveling. Given the state of air travel during the pandemic, using AirTags to track your luggage is a brilliant idea. After all, flight delays, cancelations, and lost baggage are now the norm. But Airlines like Lufthansa might hate AirTags because the trackers can often shame companies when it comes to lost luggage, but the company isn’t banning them.

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Various reports claimed earlier this week that Lufthansa was going to ban AirTags in checked luggage. Customers started asking the company directly on social media about the rumored practice.

Lufthansa has denied reports that it’s about to institute any ban on Apple’s AirTag trackers. The company said as much on Twitter, responding directly to customers. Lufthansa offered the same response to Airways Magazine.

Lufthansa told Airways that it had “not banned AirTags, and there is no guideline or regulation by Lufthansa to ban AirTags. There is a standing ICAO regulation on such devices. But this has nothing to do with Lufthansa or any other carrier.”

Put differently, Lufthansa and other airlines do not have the authority to ban devices like AirTags, even if they wanted to.

But the airline can use existing safety regulations to implement a ban-like measure against AirTags. ICAO, short for International Civil Aviation Organization, has regulations for dangerous goods that can be carried in checked luggage.

Lufthansa can’t easily implement an AirTags ban

Lufthansa says that the AirTags are in the same category as portable electronic devices that you might carry in checked luggage. That includes smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Per ICAO regulations, these have to be turned off during the flight. Specifically, the data transmission function has to be turned off.

With that in mind, Lufthansa can technically ban AirTags if it wants to. At least as a policy. In reality, it can’t really inspect bags for hidden AirTags, nor can it always detect them. Therefore, enforcing the policy might be much more difficult and not worth consumer backlash.

Lufthansa customers who choose to use AirTags in check-in luggage will probably not have to worry about any action from the airline. However, you might have to deal with pushback if you’re using AirTag information to tell the airline where your lost luggage is. Technically, you shouldn’t be placing electronics that are powered on in your luggage. But if they’re off, AirTags can’t serve their purpose.

Speculation aside, it’s only a matter of time before we hear about experiences from AirTag owners dealing with lost baggage and Lufthansa.

Update: Lufthansa will let you shame them with AirTags.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.