Lufthansa flip-flops, AirTags now allowed on flights

Posted:
in iPhone
After being incredibly clear on social media that AirTags weren't allowed on Lufthansa flights, the airline has caved and is now allowing them.

AirTag on a bag.
AirTag on a bag.


After a chaotic weekend for Lufthansa where its social media presence made it clear that Apple's AirTags weren't welcome in checked baggage, the airline seems to have reconsidered. In a Tweet, the airline made it clear that the trackers are now allowed.

The German Aviation Authorities (Luftfahrtbundesamt) confirmed today, that they share our risk assessment, that tracking devices with very low battery and transmission power in checked luggage do not pose a safety risk. With that these devices are allowed on Lufthansa flights.

— Lufthansa News (@lufthansaNews)
It's unclear why Lufthansa said that the Luftfahrtbundesamt shares its risk assessment of AirTags. The airline was explicit over the weekend that they considered the devices unsafe for flight, despite international airline regulations being clear about the matter.

AppleInsider contacted six Lufthansa flight employees in the US who are not authorized to speak on behalf of the company while preparing this story. Three thought that the ban was still in place, two didn't know about the ban, and one didn't know what an AirTag was, or how it worked. So, it's not clear if the new guidance -- or any information at all -- has been promulgated completely.

Following initial reports in German media, the airline's Twitter account was asked to confirm that a ban was 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."

The airline's claim about International Civilian Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines was entirely wrong. The regulation that Lufthansa is citing specifically talks about lithium ion battery regulations, such as those used in larger devices like a MacBook Pro that have more than 2 grams of lithium. An AirTag uses a battery with about 0.2 grams of lithium -- far too small to be considered an issue under the guidelines.

If AirTags were banned because of lithium content, then most battery-powered watches would need to be as well.

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


AppleInsider spoke with multiple international aviation experts before our report on October 9, and more since. Universally, they have told us over several days that Lufthansa's ban wasn't based on anything in the regulation. One went so far as to say that the ban was "a way to stop Lufthansa from being embarrassed by lost luggage."

AirTags have led to 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.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,219member
    I guess the right hand has finally figured out what the Lufthansa was doing.
    appleinsiderusermaltzcitpeksHedwarebageljoeyFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 2 of 12
    JP234JP234 Posts: 796member
    Funny, I've only flown Lufthansa one one roundtrip, (9/13-9/23/2022), and it was the smoothest and most efficient experience I've ever had at an airport, on an airplane, and at baggage claim. Wife and I flew from O'Hare to Athens with a 2 hour layover each way in Munich.

    And we put Airtags in both our checked bags with no issue. Plane didn't catch fire, didn't lose avionics, despite our active AirTags (and doubtless dozens or hundreds of other folk's AirTags, too). And I couldn't count the number of people in the cabin using their iPhones, iPads, Laptops and Apple Watches during the flight, again with no issues, either. There's an episode of Mythbusters where they test the ability of wireless devices to interrupt cockpit communications, and they were unable to, even when they ramped up the power to about 1,000 times what a typical cell phone transmits.
    iOSDevSWECluntBaby92watto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 3 of 12
    There was no flip-flopping. 
    If you read the original information carefully, it clearly said that LH was referring to other regulations, but did not state how they as airline would interprete this. There was also a misleading tweet pouring oil into the fire. LH never at any point officially banned AirTags. Therefore, there is no flip-flopping involved. Click-bait on the other ends, maybe? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    I read this as Lufthansa has branded slippers aka flip-flops that you can now wear on flights. 
    dewmewatto_cobraJP234
  • Reply 5 of 12
    I’m wondering if something had to become lost, or that they wanted to make sure something was not tracked? 🤔
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    There was no flip-flopping. 
    If you read the original information carefully, it clearly said that LH was referring to other regulations, but did not state how they as airline would interprete this. There was also a misleading tweet pouring oil into the fire. LH never at any point officially banned AirTags. Therefore, there is no flip-flopping involved. Click-bait on the other ends, maybe? 

    "Hi David, Lufthansa is banning activated AirTags from luggage as they are classified as dangerous and need to be turned off./Mony"

    Perhaps in your mind.  The LH employee, tweeting from an official, verified company Twitter account, was clear and unambiguous.  The tweet cited above, from a different employee through the same account, doubled down on the original tweet, and offered justification for that position.

    Today's tweet, coming via a different verified company account from the larger company as a whole, only reinforces that internal conflicts existed, and lines of communication, as well as responsibility, were lacking.

    Mony and Ana may be polishing their CVs now, or at least were the receiving end of a stern memo from above.  Not unlike what their cabin crews deliver (note--when the pilot advises passengers to stay seated until the gate has been reached, and the seat belt sign extinguished, they mean it).

    This brouhaha is entirely of Lufthansa's own making.
    macguiigorskydarkvaderStrangeDayslordjohnwhorfincharlesatlaswatto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 7 of 12
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 862member
    Anything broadcasting anywhere near their navigational frequencies gives airlines twitches: hence the 5G issues around various airports. 
  • Reply 8 of 12
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,619member
    Take a bow, AI: I think your thorough reporting (talking to so many experts) was picked up elsewhere and further amplified to the point that Lufthansa finally understood they were wrong -- the hopelessly false, but face-saving claim that they made in their walk-back proves that their misinterpretation was the issue.
    MBearbadmonkiOSDevSWEcaladanianwatto_cobraFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 9 of 12
    fred1fred1 Posts: 1,042member
    Since I’ll be on a Lufthansa flight in a few days, I checked the rules in their app about what can and cannot be brought on board and/or placed in checked bags and I didn’t see a single reference to AirTags. I guess this was so short lived that they didn’t even bother to update the app.
    watto_cobraJP234
  • Reply 10 of 12
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,939member
    citpeks said:

    Mony and Ana may be polishing their CVs now, or at least were the receiving end of a stern memo from above.  Not unlike what their cabin crews deliver (note--when the pilot advises passengers to stay seated until the gate has been reached, and the seat belt sign extinguished, they mean it).

    This brouhaha is entirely of Lufthansa's own making.

    We have likely heard the last from Mony and Ana as representatives who have access to Lufthansa official social media channels.

    If they are still gainfully employed at Lufthansa, most likely they are boxing up flyers or reorganizing t-shirts in the merch closet.

    Lufthansa made a fool out of themselves by letting the wrong people to make these statements on an official company communications channel. And they didn't make the situation much better by clumsily backtracking.

    Very poor form.
    edited October 2022 watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 12
    JFC_PA said:
    Anything broadcasting anywhere near their navigational frequencies gives airlines twitches: hence the 5G issues around various airports. 
    Which are similarly unfounded.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    JP234JP234 Posts: 796member
    I read this as Lufthansa has branded slippers aka flip-flops that you can now wear on flights. 
    Premium Economy and up. The losers in Economy can buy a pair...
Sign In or Register to comment.