Lufthansa AirTags ban based on incredibly bad regulation interpretation

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2022
Airline Lufthansa has banned AirTags from luggage calling them a danger to flight -- but the regulation the airline is citing does no such thing.

AirTag on a bag.
AirTag on a bag.


Apple's AirTag has proven itself to be an invaluable tool for travelers, but it seems one airline isn't keen on them. German airline Lufthansa has reportedly started to ban the use of AirTags in luggage carried on its flights.

Lufthansa's tweet confirming an AirTags ban.
Lufthansa's tweet confirming an AirTags ban.


Following initial reports in German media, the airline's Twitter account was asked to confirm that a ban is in place. In one tweet, the rumor is confirmed with Lufthansa "banning activated AirTags from luggage as they are classified as dangerous and need to be turned off."

Pressed further on the classification, the airline claims "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."

But, the claim that the airline is making about ICAO (International Civilian Aviation Organization) guidelines is completely wrong.

Specifically, the regulation that Lufthansa is citing specifically talks about lithium ion battery regulations, such as those used in larger devices like a MacBook Pro. First, an AirTag uses a battery that is too small to be considered an issue under the guidelines.

Secondly, the AirTag uses CR2032 cells aren't lithium ion batteries, and as such, not covered under the regulation. If CR2032 cells were in fact a danger, then watches using the same CR2032 would be disallowed on flights -- and they are not.

AirTags do primarily function as low-powered transmitters, and there is not nearly enough power to interfere with commercial plane's systems.

AirTags are covered by
AirTags are covered by "dangerous goods" regulations according to Lufthansa.


AppleInsider has spoken with multiple international aviation experts, and they all told us that the ban isn't based on anything in the regulation. One went so far as to tell us that the ban is "a way to stop Lufthansa from being embarrassed by lost luggage."

Additionally, Lufthansa seems to indicate that AirTags could be put into hold luggage if the battery is removed for transit. Doing so defeats the purpose of the tracker, and would eliminate the key selling point of AirTags in helping travelers know where their luggage is located.

This has led to some embarrassment for airlines and airports, such as instances where luggage got lost at an airport between flights, as well as an office full of lost luggage. It has also helped with the arrest of a baggage handler who stole thousands of dollars worth of jewelry and other items.

Lufthansa is the first airline to ban the device, but it seems unlikely many others will follow suit. In the United States, the TSA permits trackers like AirTags in carry-on and checked bags, while the FAA is OK with them due to the limited effects of short-range Bluetooth transmissions.

AppleInsider has reached out to Lufthansa for clarification and comment.

Read on AppleInsider
PatchyThePirateV.3
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    My thoughts exactly. They’re loosing people’s luggage so they ban them lol. 
    Nothing to do with interfering with the avionics. 
    What an absolute stupid decision to make. Laughable. 
    caladanianjas99JaiOh81Anilu_777FileMakerFellerentropysgrandact73watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 23
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,219member
    It sounds like the right hand doesn't know what the Lufthansa is doing.
    Xedjas99whocaresshdhdbdJaiOh81JapheyAnilu_777FileMakerFeller602warrenappleinsideruserwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 23
    Absurd. Will they be banning all bluetooth devices next?
    caladanianjas99watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 23
    JP234JP234 Posts: 827member
    I call bullshit on Lufthansa for this one. Everyone who's ever lost a bag on a connect flight knows how uncooperative the lost bag agents are. And I've lost seven (all eventually found). It's not so bad when you're on the way home, but getting to your other destination with no underwear, change of clothes, deodorant, cosmetics, chargers or whatever it is you check, now that's another story.

    The reason they want to ban them is because they're getting flamed on social media by people who found their lost luggage using AirTags (or any tracking tags), and yet Lufthansa has chosen to remain locked into their 20th century methods for luggage tracking, and doesn't want to accept and utilize modern technology because it would cost them money.

    Does ANYONE plan on leaving their AirTags at home because of this? Hell, I'll just pack two in each bag in case they find and confiscate one. What are they going to do, put me in prison?
    caladanianjas99PatchyThePirateV.3JaiOh81Anilu_777olsentropysmaximarawatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 23
    Another reason to avoid Lufthansa
    iOSDevSWEjas99Anilu_777ravnorodomentropysgrandact73watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 23
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 864member
    If they’re that poor at understanding tech how’s that bode for their aircraft maintenance? Hard pass. 
    iOSDevSWEjas99muthuk_vanalingamgrandact73watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 23
    Interesting, in three articles I just found, Lufthansa denies they have banned AirTags despite what that tweet says.
    caladanianjas99JP234FileMakerFellerravnorodomentropyswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 23
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,569administrator
    tommikele said:
    Interesting, in three articles I just found, Lufthansa denies they have banned AirTags despite what that tweet says.
    Well, we've blasted every PR email we have, and a few we got from elsewhere for a comment, and don't have a thing.

    Admittedly, it's very late on Sunday at Lufthansa's HQ.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 23
    Lufthansa, hmmm, German. They’re in the EU… they’re forward thinking with their legislation. I wonder if Lufthansa have friends in Brussels? 😈
    Anilu_777watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 23
    More buffoonary from the bureaucrats…Let’s let a bunch of unelected morons control our destiny. Wait that have already decided that know better (via lobby $$$) that everything should be USB C, yet nitwits that control the USB branding and tech specs can’t get out of their own way. Great Job!
    Anilu_777watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 23
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,351member
    Well, you idiots rejoicing at the EU mandating USB-C were told this was just the beginning.

    And of course not a word about Tile and other tracking tags. Just Air Tags
    edited October 2022 entropysigorskywatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 23
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 628member
    tommikele said:
    Interesting, in three articles I just found, Lufthansa denies they have banned AirTags despite what that tweet says.
    Lufthansa's actual statement is paraphrased as "We aren't banning AirTags. ICAO is banning them, and we're just adhering to their directions." German companies and processes tend to be extremely bureaucratic, and statements like this are a natural result.

    All the re-reporting on the statement has focused on the first part and left out the second.
    edited October 2022 stompywatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 23
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    motif88 said:
    More buffoonary from the bureaucrats…Let’s let a bunch of unelected morons control our destiny. Wait that have already decided that know better (via lobby $$$) that everything should be USB C, yet nitwits that control the USB branding and tech specs can’t get out of their own way. Great Job!
    lkrupp said:
    Well, you idiots rejoicing at the EU mandating USB-C were told this was just the beginning.

    And of course not a word about Tile and other tracking tags. Just Air Tags

    Lufthansa is a private company who have tweeted something that clearly misinterprets a sensible regulation, you prize pillocks.  Did you even read the article before attempting a pile on?

    chasmFileMakerFellermuthuk_vanalingammaximaragrandact73
  • Reply 14 of 23
    How are they going to enforce this? Bags are x-rayed by TSA or it’s equivalent in other countries, not by private carriers. If they scan for Bluetooth it’ll light up for every Phone, pad, and laptop. After losing and never finding my bag by a European carrier a couple of years ago I will never put myself in a situation where I can’t independently determine a bag’s location. 
  • Reply 15 of 23
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,619member
    What's important to know here is that it is important reporting like this that draws attention to authorities and others in a position to tell Lufthansa that they've misread the directions and should backtrack on their mistake. Enough customers and others will read this and get it touch and the situation will undoubtedly be corrected in a week or two.

    If it isn't, then consumers and others should safely assume that Lufthansa is hiding behind an incorrect interpretation in order to avoid getting discovered for their lost/stolen luggage handling. Certainly until they roll back this sham ruling, I won't be flying them ... and I've reached out to their PR to a) tell them this and b) explain why.
    FileMakerFellerfeasts_05_edamamemaximarastompywatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 23
    Easy. Let’s have customers banning flying Lufthansa. There are always alternatives. 
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 23
    With any luck, this will result in an EU court telling Lufthansa to pound sand.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 23
    It sounds like the right hand doesn't know what the Lufthansa is doing.
    Thank you for this comment. Lmao. xD
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 23
    crowley said:
    motif88 said:
    More buffoonary from the bureaucrats…Let’s let a bunch of unelected morons control our destiny. Wait that have already decided that know better (via lobby $$$) that everything should be USB C, yet nitwits that control the USB branding and tech specs can’t get out of their own way. Great Job!
    lkrupp said:
    Well, you idiots rejoicing at the EU mandating USB-C were told this was just the beginning.

    And of course not a word about Tile and other tracking tags. Just Air Tags

    Lufthansa is a private company who have tweeted something that clearly misinterprets a sensible regulation, you prize pillocks.  Did you even read the article before attempting a pile on?

    Really they don’t have to even try to hide behind regulations. The aircraft is literally their platform and they can force passengers to follow their own rules or policies unless that policy itself is contradicted by law.
  • Reply 20 of 23
    Would it be possible that Lufthansa is planning to offer their own luggage tracking $ervice and preempting BYOD ?
    watto_cobra
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