Woman loses AirPods on a plane, tracks them to airport worker’s home

A U.S. woman left her AirPods on a plane at San Francisco International Airport. She tracked them to an airport worker’s home.

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Julia Buckley for CNN:

Earlier in March, Alisabeth Hayden, from Washington state in the US, was separated from her AirPods – Apple’s pricey micro headphones – while disembarking from a plane in San Francisco. She swiftly realized that they appeared to have been stolen.

Hayden used inflight Wi-Fi to track the earphones using the “Find My” app, which tracks Apple devices. The AirPods were showing at SFO. Then she realized they were moving… They moved to Terminal 2. Then to Terminal 3. Then they were on Highway 101, heading south towards San Mateo. They ended up at what appeared to be a residential address in the Bay Area, and stayed put there for three days.

United [Airlines], she says, were “godawful” in their communications with her… The person who helped? A detective from San Mateo police force, working at the airport.

United confirmed to CNN that the employee works for a United vendor, and said that the matter has been handed over to law enforcement…

The matter is now being handled by the San Francisco Airport Police Department, which plans to submit the case to the San Mateo District Attorney’s office, a spokesperson for San Mateo County confirmed to CNN.

After 12 days of chasing, Hayden finally got her AirPods back – although not in peak condition. “They look like they’ve been stomped on,” she says. “They were wrapped in a toilet paper-sized piece of bubble wrap, Why bother?”

When she flagged United about their condition, she says, she was told to leave feedback through the contact form on its website. A week later, and after CNN first contacted the airline about her case, Hayden was told she would receive $271.91 in “expenses” (to buy a new pair) plus 5,000 miles as an apology.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s utterly shocking that United were “godawful” in their communications with a paying customer, whom they treat markedly worse than livestock, and that an airline vendor was caught stealing – allegedly.

A less tenacious person would’ve given up long before Hayden who, thankfully, actually got the proper compensation and a (weak) apology from yet another shitty U.S. airline, of which there are many.

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[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Edward W.” for the heads up.]


  1. I found some Airpod Pros while walking my dogs. Before I got home my iPhone warned me I was being tracked and asked me if I wanted to disable tracking. I wonder if Alisabeth’s Airpods were tracked by multiple passing iPhones and the airline employee had an Android phone. Can an Android user get the lost message from Airpods?

  2. Were they stolen, or she dropped/lost them? If the former, the vendor is a thief, in the latter a scumbag for not turning them in. This distinction isn’t described in the article, but will be important to the prosecutor. The vendor will claim they found them on the ground or in a trash can.

  3. i often find iphones and pods in the dog park, what do i do? i throw them in the trash can! all these sherlocks playing detective with find my iphone and creating drama for everyone else. don’t need a bitter karen showing up with cops falsely accusing anyone of theft.

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