A London baggage handler strike ahead of an upcoming trip caused me to add Apple AirTags to my checked luggage, here’s how easy they are to add.
London Baggage Handler Strike
Over the last couple of days, London baggage handlers have been striking and will continue to do so through Sunday. All of the baggage handlers are unionized and work for Menzies.
The union stated the result of its industrial action would “lead to disruption, delays and cancellation for flights leaving Heathrow Terminals 2, 3 and 4” and would particularly affect Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Air Portugal, American Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Egypt Air, Finnair, Lufthansa, Qantas and Swiss Air.” – Forbes.
Handlers are pushing back on inadeqate pay, requesting more than 14% to battle inflation costs in the UK. Early in the strike, just four flights had been reported as canceled though more could be expected. While my family is traveling to London, on the periphery of this action, we were more concerned about knock down effects rather than the a direct causation to this specific issue.
London/Europe’s Baggage Handling Performance Has Been Bad All Summer
London, and really, greater Europe has had an abysmal performance handling bags for most of the summer. In addition to the headlines posted on this very site and around the world, my travel agency has been helping clients as recently as last week track the location of their luggage, file claims, and attempt to recover.
Not all of those clients traversed London, the latest client (ten clients, actually) had their luggage go missing in Barcelona, Spain. Despite notifying the staff, pointing out where the luggage was located, and filing numerous complaints and spending hours on the phone, it still took IAG-owned Vueling more than a week to deliver the bags. I recognize that AirTags may not solve the problem, and further iritate travelers by knowing where their bags are but not being able to coax staff to walk down to their location, identify it and send it where it needs to go.
It seems to be a good idea to at least provide some peace of mind given the challenges European airports have experienced and especially with this industrial action looming.
Adding Apple AirTags
My family has other Apple devices so setting them up was easy, and painless. We bought a pack of (4) for $99 rather than just the three we needed individually for $87 total (3 @ $29.) We are only traveleing with two checked bags but inevitably come home with more than we take so it seemed like the smart idea was to buy four and be prepared.
When opening the package, the AirTags were attached to the inside and pulled out easily. A small plastic cover on the outside and separating the internal battery from contact keeps the battery life full until you’re ready to use them. Once the plastic is removed, a chime will sound and when held close to an Apple device, a setup screen appears. A dropdown menu of common uses to name the device appears or you can choose a custom name as I did.
Users are asked if they’d like to add an em0ji so I chose one from the available options. In future, I’d love to have an option to take a photo of the item instead of an emoji so that I can visually identify it not only for myself but also for lost luggage purposes and at baggage claim.
Upon completion, the tracking device was instantly available in the Find My app from Apple. I deposited my AirTag into my checked baggage and was ready to fly.
While I know that it’s not a perfect solution, I wanted to give it a try (and will report back.) I have zero confidence in London baggage handlers without the strike based on the summer we have experienced but at least with an AirTag, luggage is easier to find in theory even if not in reality.
What do you think? Have you tried AirTags? How was your experience? Do you trust baggage handlers and luggage systems in Europe right now?