Lufthansa successfully promotes use of Apple AirTags to track luggage

Multiple reports have surfaced online in recent days that first indicated that Lufthansa was prohibiting the carriage of Apple’s AirTag tracking device within checked-in luggage, based on a tweet (below) from Lufthansa’s official Twitter account.

Apple AirTag 4-Pack
Apple AirTag 4-Pack

Now, after many stories and much Sturm und Drang, Lufthansa has walked back its “ban” of Apple AirTags in luggage.

Kevin Purdy for Ars Technica:

The German airline Lufthansa, seemingly misreading an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulation, positioned itself this week as the only major airline banning people from tracking their checked luggage with AirTags.

Outcry, close reading of the relevant sections (part 2, section C) of ICAO guidelines, and accusations of ulterior motives immediately followed. AppleInsider noted that the regulations are meant for lithium-ion batteries that could be accidentally activated; AirTag batteries are not lithium-ion, are encased, and are commonly used in watches, which have not been banned by any airline. The site also spoke with “multiple international aviation experts” who saw no such ban in ICAO regulations. One expert told the site the ban was “a way to stop Lufthansa from being embarrassed by lost luggage.”

On Wednesday, Lufthansa walked back the policy under the cover of “The German Aviation Authorities (Luftfahrtbundesamt),” which the airline said in a tweet “shared our risk assessment, that tracking devices with very low battery and transmission power in checked luggage do not pose a safety risk.” This would seem to imply either that Lufthansa was acting on that authority’s ruling without having previously mentioned it, or that Lufthansa had acted on its own and has now found an outside actor to approve their undoing.

MacDailyNews Take: Of course, Lufthansa sells Apple AirTags online in its Lufthansa World Shop.

That’s some great “Streisand School” marketing, Lufthansa!

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  1. I wonder, based on the initial tweet, if the problem wasn’t so much the battery as the wireless emissions. Note they said “activated,” and deactivated units still have batteries installed (ie, before you pull the tag). You can’t put an AirTag into airplane mode…

    1. You can accomplish the equivalent by either removing the battery or disabling it by twisting off the back cover and inserting a bit of Saranwrap or other very thin plastic buffer.

      1. Yes, I know that… I was commenting specifically on the wording of the tweet. There’s no explanation given for “dangerous” and for aviation that can mean any number of things. You’d expect that an airline would know that AirTags don’t have lithium-ion batteries in them, which is what is normally considered “dangerous” for power sources onboard.

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