Apple AirTags helps you locate objects (such as phones or laptops or even parked cars) as long as you place the nifty little device on the said object. The location tracker has found great popularity among frequent flyers, as it helps them keep track of their luggage after they’ve been checked in at airports. Now, recent media reports suggested that Lufthansa, one of the world’s largest airline carriers, has banned AirTags from checked-in luggage. However, the reality is, AirTags are not outright banned by the carrier. Having said that, there’s a certain limitation that would make carrying an AirTag completely useless. Read on to find out.
What did Lufthansa say about AirTags?
Following reports and rumours suggesting that Lufthansa has banned AirTags, Twitter user David Thomas (@djthomashome) took to Twitter on October 9 to ask Lufthansa if the rumours are indeed true and if AirTags are banned from its flights. To this, Lufthansa replied, “Lufthansa is banning activated AirTags from luggage as they are classified as dangerous and need to be turned off.”
When another user asked on the same thread why AirTags are “classified as dangerous,” Lufthansa cited International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines and said “baggage trackers are subject to the dangerous goods regulations.” Lufthansa added that due to the AirTags’ transmission function, they must be deactivated during a flight “if they are in a checked baggage and cannot be used as a result.”
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. /Ana
— Lufthansa (@lufthansa) October 9, 2022
So, are AirTags indeed banned by Lufthansa?
When the Airways magazine reached out to Lufthansa for clarification, the carrier reportedly said in a statement that it had not banned AirTags. “…There is no guideline 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.”
So, what this essentially means is that AirTags are not “banned” by Lufthansa. You can still carry them in your checked luggage, but can’t turn them on — which in a way beats the whole purpose of keeping an AirTag in your baggage.
Are other airlines following suit?
Now that Lufthansa has banned carrying active AirTags, there’s a scope for other major carriers to follow suit. However, the United States’ Transportation Security Administration (TSA) permits AirTags and other trackers. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), too, doesn’t have an issue with AirTags as their short-range Bluetooth transmission has very limited effects.
Even in India, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation doesn’t allow devices with lithium-ion batteries in checked-in luggage, but has no strict directives against small trackers like AirTags.
Are AirTags harmful to flight services?
As mentioned earlier, most airlines don’t allow devices with lithium-ion batteries in checked luggage. However, AirTags and most other trackers come with 3V CR2032 lithium coin batteries, which are also used on most watches — which are not banned by carriers.
Apart from that, as per Apple Insider, AirTags do act as low-power transmitters, but they don’t have nearly enough power to interfere with a plane’s systems.