Are luggage tracking devices authorised? (AirTags and others)

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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)

  • Swissdiver
    Participant

    Interesting and documented article: https://www.intego.com/mac-security-blog/are-airlines-banning-apple-airtags-heres-the-complete-story/. This is for Lufty. What’s about the others?


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    I’ve been asked about this several times by travellers in recent months (because of so much luggage being ‘lost’)

    On the safety issue, The Washington Post reports
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2022/10/12/lufthansa-air-tags/

    “Apple said in a statement that AirTags are “compliant with international airline travel safety regulations for carry-on and checked baggage.”

    The tags are powered by CR2032 coin cell battery, the same used in watches, key fobs and some medical and fitness devices, which are permitted under guidance from domestic and international regulators such as the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. The devices connect to Apple’s Find My Device app, used on iPhones, via Bluetooth Low Energy, the same connective technology used in permitted items such as Bluetooth headphones.”

    However, I was also asked my advice about buying some to track luggage, but I don’t see the point.

    The idea is that you would get peace of mind as you set off for a week knowing your bag is on board. But this has to be balanced against the lack of peace of mind if you know it has been left behind. It’s not as though they will let you get off the aircraft as it taxis to the runway.

    Likewise if the airport says it can’t find your bag and you can see it at Heathrow amongst thousands of others – how does that help? If they haven’t got the staff to go and get it, then it will be returned when someone gets round to it – knowing where it is won’t make them go and get your one ahead of everyone else’s, well, not unless you are an international golfer…


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    I have been using FAA and TSA approved baggage trackers for over 10 years. I firstly used TRAKDOT and more recently GEGO. My understanding is that both units were/are FAA and TSA approved for use whilst travelling. The major difference (from my understanding) is that an approved unit, must have the ability to go into a hibernation mode whilst in the aircraft hold so it does not transmit any signal. On arrival, it does take time for units to come out of hibernation and start providing a location report, but they certainly do work.

    The other differences between an approved unit and others, is the GEGO is self sufficient, transmits using GPS and is not reliant on sharing a Bluetooth connection with other phone users.

    For more information on how a bluetooth tracker and GPS tracker work, see the attached & scroll down to the table at the mid point.

    GEGO GPS | *NEW*

    Besides bag location, the GPS trackers have an additional function of texting a, or a number of numbers your location when it comes out of hibernation. Perfect for letting drivers or loved ones know that you have arrived. Accepted, there are other platforms available for this secondary benefit, but the unit transmits automatically without having to enter any flight numbers or dates of travel.

    The apple version, was not originally created as a baggage tracker, but has quite understandably evolved into a baggage tracker. Whilst products may be deemed safe by their manufacturers, FAA approval, does provide some added credibility that a product capable of transmitting signals has been tested and is approved for use in an aircraft.

    If LH do ban the use of certain trackers, it will be interesting to see what happens if a passenger then claims to know the whereabouts of a lost bag due to an unapproved tracker being placed in the lost bag.

    Tom – I recall some years ago, BT did publish an article or review about Trackers. Time for an update ?? 🙂

    For the record, I do not work for any firm making or marketing baggage trackers.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    BugAdvisor
    Participant

    I use AirTags for my checked luggage and it’s great too be able to check that my luggage arrived. A few weeks ago in Tampa, Florida, my BA priority tagged bag took an hour to arrive, way later than other bags, but, I could see my bag sitting a few hundred metres away.

    I think the only reason that Lufthansa wants to ban AirTags is becasue they don’t like passengers having the upper hand when it comes to lost baggage discussions.

    AirTags use Bluetooth to transmit and receive to the closest iPhone with Bluetooth switched on. That iPhone then sends the location to the Apple network and the onwer of the tag can see that information using the ‘find my phone’ app. Bluetooth is used for many other devices, most notably ear buds and headphones – and those are allowed on aircraft.

    In addition, I believe that Apple ear buds now have the same lost/found technology as AirTags – if AirTags are banned then are ear buds banned?

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    rferguson
    Participant

    I reckon we will see LH back track on their ban soon.

    The FAA announced today that there is no ban on the items:

    In a statement, the Federal Aviation Administration said that AirTags specifically are allowed in checked luggage and are not considered to pose a danger.

    “Luggage tracking devices powered by lithium metal cells that have 0.3 grams or less of lithium can be used on checked baggage,” the FAA said. “Apple AirTags meet this threshold; other luggage tracking devices may not.”


    FDOS
    Participant

    I haven’t seen any hard evidence that LH has banned Air tags. Just a tweet or two from people without the authority to determine this. The official company statements seem to say they are safe and allowed.


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    Hi MartynSinclair,

    Yes, I think it would be a good idea to do an article on the trackers – I will have to find out which ones are still available.

    Meanwhile, as ever, I turn to Good Housekeeping

    https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/travel-products/luggage-reviews/g40798932/best-luggage-trackers/

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    SimonS1
    Participant

    I reckon we will see LH back track on their ban soon.

    Yep, inevitably.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/travel/2022/10/12/lufthansa-air-tags/


    LondonAndy70
    Participant

    @Tom I get that you say you don’t see the point “The idea is that you would get peace of mind as you set off for a week knowing your bag is on board. But this has to be balanced against the lack of peace of mind if you know it has been left behind. It’s not as though they will let you get off the aircraft as it taxis to the runway.”

    However, last week one of our two suitcases arrived on a BA short-haul flight but the other didn’t. The fact that I knew it was still at LHR meant I didn’t have to wait around in vain to see if it would come off the carousel. Equally I knew that it had arrived at the airport 36 hours later before being advised by the airline, and I could see when the delivery driver was coming to drop it off at our accommodation. I definitely found it useful.

    4 users thanked author for this post.

    Nick Pike
    Participant

    Yes, I agree. For some reason I always find the baggage reclaim stressful but the fact I can tell my baggage has actually arrived long before I see it means the whole process is way easier.


    Casey_99
    Participant

    Trackers are useful.
    In Jo’burg in Aug I knew my bag was on the plane and in baggage handling even though it looked like all the bags had come to the baggage hall. Eventually my bag and about twenty others popped up on the conveyor. It was good telling people that I knew bag was actually in Jo’burg and we should not walk away.
    Similarly, when you have a connection where you need to collect your luggage and then recheck it in, it’s good knowing your bags were actually on the first plane and again they’ve made it onto the second plane.
    As trackers cost so little, if you want to know where your luggage is then why not use them? If you don’t want to use them then it’s fine.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    I haven’t flown with checked baggage for some time now, but I seem to recall that on the Lufthansa app you get a message to say your bags have been loaded, arrived etc. And then on arrival at destination it says your bags have arrived and can be collected on carousel number xx.


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    I think I will remain doubtful about how much reassurance they give, but I accept I am in a minority so we will see about reviewing some of them.

    Meanwhile…


    Tom Otley
    Keymaster

    Seems like AirTags continue to throw up surprises.

    I’m sure many have had day dreams of encountering a similar situation…!


    AllOverTheGaff
    Participant

    Sadly, this is typical of airlines apathy towards missing baggage, hence the need for Airtags.

    I had my bags go AWOL from GRU – DOH – AUH, Qatar offered zero help but wasted two days of my time as I attempted to get them to send the bags to AUH, each “customer service” rep online, on the phone or via email all giving me a different location of my bag….when they could actually be bothered to respond of course. I knew when my luggage hit AUH via the Airtag, not thanks to the hopeless abyss of Qatar’s “service” so was able to jump in an Uber to the airport, speak with security and recover my belongings.

    I am convinced without the Airtags I would still be waiting for an answer from QR and I’ve been home 2 months.

    Will always use them now.

    2 users thanked author for this post.
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