Lufthansa has not banned Apple AirTags and I think it is clear why: it is the sort of rule that would practicably be unenforceable. Lufthansa remains free to ban AirTags, but is it prepared to enforce that ban by digging through passenger bags when they refuse to comply? In reality, a ban by Lufthansa or any airline is simply trying to evade accountability rather than promote safety.
Lufthansa Has Not Banned Apple AirTags
It was widely reported yesterday that Lufthansa banned Apple AirTags in hold baggage, the miniature devices that you can drop inside a bag and then use your phone to follow the location of your bag. That proved quite handy in a recent lost baggage case and I am now the proud owner of four of these coin-size devices.
German media and even some of my colleagues reported that Lufthansa determined that AirTags and other tracking devices represent “dangerous goods” according to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and therefore cannot be placed in a checked bag while transmit mode is enabled. But when the very point of these devices is to transmit location information, it renders them useless.
Last night, however, a Lufthansa spokesperson confirmed to Ethan Kapper of The Points Guy that AirTags are still permitted onboard and there has been no change in policy.
A Lufthansa spokesperson tells me there is no change to the carrier’s policy on AirTags.
— Ethan Klapper (@ethanklapper) October 7, 2022
While I would not wholly foreclose the possibility of Lufthansa banning such items, I find it highly unlikely. How would Lufthansa possibly enforce that? Furthermore, I suspect that the act of banning these would embolden more passengers to flout the rule.
AirTags are NOT banned by Lufthasna. Instead, Lufthansa has confirmed there is no change in policy. At least for now, you can continue to place AirTags or other baggage-tracking devices inside your checked baggage. I suspect Lufthansa will not try to ban these even at a future point, as customers will simply ignore the ban.
AirTags have been really useful for people especially during the whole mess this past summer and in a lot of cases helped airlines track missing luggage.
Agreed that it would’ve been very hard for LH to ban AirTags anyway because MUC and FRA are large Star Alliance hubs, and people are connecting through different Star Alliance carriers to LH anyways and other carriers still would allow them. It’s also not like LH are going to have their own staff using x-rays or standing next to the x-ray operators to see if there’s an AirTag in a bag.
“I suspect that the act of banning these would embolden more passengers to flout the rule.”
Which itself is rather ridiculous. “I wasn’t planning on using it, but if LH is going to ban them, well then I wanna stick it to LH!”
Not so much in that sense, but in that this whole “ban” (if it ever occurs, and I doubt it will) will raise far more awareness on the wisdom of dropping one of these AirTags in your checked baggage.
I use AirTags in all my bags and they provide a huge peace of mind as you know exactly where your bags are once you are on a plane. I don’t trust the airlines to tell me where my bags are. BTW, AirTags use same battery as most watches so the reports about batteries being dangerous was total BS.
LH need not recruit a team of X’ray technicians to scan every bag or rifle through it. That’s a ridiculous sentiment. What they – and other feckless airlines – WILL do is make it part of the Contract of Carriage such that it’s a Catch 22 for passengers that alleviates LH of any responsibility for lost bags. Example scenario:
1. LH add’s that no “location transmitting devices” are allowed in checked (or any?) luggage per the CoC. They do not need a technical reason why they disallow them, they can simply cite any number of ambiguous “operational” reasons.
2. Pax A’s bag is not delivered by LH on a JFK-FRA flight operated by LH and under an LH flight number.
3. Upon arriving in FRA, Pax A sees via FindMy app on their iPhone that their bag is still at JFK (or elsewhere).
4. Pax A alerts LH baggage services that their bag is lost and is still at JFK.
5. LH denies this and states is *must* be in FRA as their system says so. Thus they will deliver it in due time.
6. Pax A refutes this by showing them the actual location in the bowels of JFK and demands LH compensate them.
7. LH states that because Pax A has violated the CoC, LH is under no obligation to do anything, regardless of where the luggage actually exists.
Will this invite potential lawsuits? Maybe, but LH won’t care because it immediately alleviates them from the administrative and admittedly minuscule financial burden of dealing with lost bags. They can now do so with impunity until such a time that travelers realize they have no recourse and stop expecting LH to get their bags anywhere on time let alone WITH them.
Not really, because many countries have rules relating to contract law, such that unfair or arbitrary clauses are not enforceable.
Thanks for reporting on this clarification, Matthew. I literally just read about the “ban” on another site.
They canceled my flight this last month. I had to rebook indirect and my bag never made it to Frankfurt. It was delivered back to me in the US 10 days later. Time to start using AirTags.
I don’t think they would actively be searching for them. Another article I read cited some of the original policy and it apparently says that you can put electronic items in checked bags as long as they are fully turned off, though they obviously discourage that.
So if they did ban them, they wouldn’t have to search anyone’s bags, it would just put travelers with lost luggage in a tough situation.
You’d no longer be able to say “I know exactly where my bag is becuase of an airtag.” Their response would just be “so you admit to violating our policy then?”
I don’t know if there are any penalties for violating these policies, but if there are, I’d imagine that you’d have a tough choice to make on whether or not you’d own up to tracking your bag.
FYI this article is outdated and AirTags have officially been banned according to Lufthansa’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/lufthansa/status/1578869457140580353
FYI,I tend to think Ethan received the correct info from a more official LH channel and this is just a Twitter agent who is mistaken. In any case, both he and I have asked LH for clarifcation.
FYI, looks like you’re right 😉 The tweet has been deleted.
Lufthansa just confirmed that they are banning airtags through their twitter https://twitter.com/lufthansa/status/1578869457140580353
Sorry, I still think the Twitter team is mistaken. And if so, there is no enforcement mechanism.
They wouldn’t need to root around in luggage to fund air tags. They can simply use Apple’s own anti-stalking Tracker Detect app to make the airtag chime in the bag.
Also, Lufthansa uses the same basic technology in their own luggage
That tweet has now been taken down.
I’ll using United in the next few week for a trip to Europe. I’ll buy a set of AirTags before UA joins the LU band wagon.
The Germans should worry about their borders and the state of the mess that has become Germany since the East German era takeover by Merkel and the open borders. We wouldn’t need these tags in Germany if theft at German airports wasn’t rampant and out of control. Stop worrying what I am doing LH and look after your own back yard, you’ve gone from a 5 Star Airline ( which was laughable anyway ) to a bunch of lazy, untidy Germans flying sub-standard planes and that’s when you are not on strike. Good riddance.
I love how once Apple does something it becomes big news, everyone is all hip on the Air Tags as if Apple invented the best thing ever. I have been using Tile Trackers for around 10 years now without issue. on every major domestic and international airline. never has a plane crashed or anything ever happened. so the airlines claims that they are Dangerous are Completely and Totally False. And it has saved me several times, I always track my bag as I board the plane. I Once argued with and held up an international flight because my bag was not on the plane, (it was a 2 week trip through numerous countries so i knew if i didnt have my bag then it would probably not catch up with me during my trip) I argued and fought with them and they told me I was full of it and that there was no way i could know that and that I could not track my bag. they assured me my bag was on the plane. well having delayed my flight long enough through my refusal to comply with their demands, it gave the ground crew enough to time to catch up and i could hear them opening the door and started loading additional bags on the plane, as i heard that my Phone Went off as my bag was located as it was one of the ones being loaded. SO.. I was Correct, I got my bag, Trip was great, Thanks TILE