Travelers use AirTag to track lost luggage all the way to the donation pile

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2023
Another couple has used AirTag to track where their luggage had gone after going missing following a flight, and discovered it was to be donated to charity.

AirTag on a bag
AirTag on a bag


Nakita Rees and Tom Wilson, from Cambridge, Ontario, returned to Canada from a honeymoon in Greece on September 10. However, their luggage failed to make the final stage of the journey between Montreal and Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Assured that the luggage would be with them within a few days, the couple returned home. They then used the AirTag hidden in the luggage to see where it was.

The bag was still in Montreal.

However, hope that they would get their bags back evaporated, CBC reported, as the bag traveled to suburban Toronto and stayed put for more than three months. Throughout this time, Air Canada didn't provide an update.

Eventually, Air Canada offered financial compensation for the luggage. The couple, meanwhile, was frustrated by a lack of communication and action by the airline, even though they were able to locate the bag for themselves.

The AirTag led the couple to the Etobicoke Public Storage facility. The tracker's signal was followed to a storage unit with a slightly open door.

A peek inside revealed a unit filled floor to ceiling with luggage.

On calling police, the investigation stalled as officers said the bag now belonged to a third-party handler that Air Canada sends unclaimed luggage to before being donated to charity.

According to Air Canada, it had paid out the maximum $2,300 to the couple in October, it found the bag, and then returned it on Monday.

The airline blamed the late summer travel of the couple, a time "when all air carriers in Canada were still recovering from the COVID-related, systemic disruption of the entire air transport industry," which induced luggage delays. Furthermore, the bag's luggage tag had disconnected, preventing identification of the owners.

Air Canada advised passengers to put personal contact information inside the baggage to help identification. Rees agreed, but that adding a tracker like AirTag can help passengers "push for it" to be returned.

This is not the first time that Air Canada has been publicly called out by AirTags. In January, another passenger discovered his luggage went on a 5,000-mile detour across the Atlantic ocean.

AirTag has also helped with the discovery of a lost bag graveyard at Melbourne Airport, and aided in recovering sentimental objects from a wedding in April.

The tracker has also been the target of an attempt by Lufthansa to avoid similar stories, with the airline banning the Apple accessory under claims it was a dangerous item that needed to be turned off during flights. After widespread criticism in October, Lufthansa relented and lifted the ban.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,073member
    "Furthermore, the bag's luggage tag had disconnected, preventing identification of the owners."

    This seems like the type of information that belongs right at the top of the article. Air Travel 101 includes a chapter on putting your contact info in multiple places in your luggage. Sounds like these folks put Air Tags in there, but no contact information. The rest of the story should be far more forgiving of the airline, given some pretty basic negligence on the part of the owners. It's good the Air Tags finally reunited them with their stuff, but things probably would have gone much more smoothly if they'd just left some contact info inside their bag.
    JP234FileMakerFellerwatto_cobraHallel
  • Reply 2 of 14
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,965member
    AppleZulu said:
    "Furthermore, the bag's luggage tag had disconnected, preventing identification of the owners."

    This seems like the type of information that belongs right at the top of the article. Air Travel 101 includes a chapter on putting your contact info in multiple places in your luggage. Sounds like these folks put Air Tags in there, but no contact information. The rest of the story should be far more forgiving of the airline, given some pretty basic negligence on the part of the owners. It's good the Air Tags finally reunited them with their stuff, but things probably would have gone much more smoothly if they'd just left some contact info inside their bag.
    Which luggage tag - the one you fill out with your name and address or the one that the baggage agent fills out? Or the separate sticker with a bar code? The article doesn't state which and doesn't state whether the owners had a personal ID tag. it also doesn't state whether they had any identification inside the bag or if the airline even tried to find it. Since the owners knew enough to put an AirTag in the luggage i presume they also had an ID tag. That would mean at least 3 forms of identification got detached from the bag. I call B.S. on AirCanada's part
    watto_cobraJP234
  • Reply 3 of 14
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    Airlines are scumbags, every last one of them, with thieves for employees. That goes for UPS, FedEx, and the USPS too.
    watto_cobraJP234
  • Reply 4 of 14
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,073member
    lkrupp said:
    Airlines are scumbags, every last one of them, with thieves for employees. That goes for UPS, FedEx, and the USPS too.
    That’s quite a bunker you live in, there. 
    dewmemarc gget seriousjony0
  • Reply 5 of 14
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,073member
    JP234 said:
    AppleZulu said:
    "Furthermore, the bag's luggage tag had disconnected, preventing identification of the owners."

    This seems like the type of information that belongs right at the top of the article. Air Travel 101 includes a chapter on putting your contact info in multiple places in your luggage. Sounds like these folks put Air Tags in there, but no contact information. The rest of the story should be far more forgiving of the airline, given some pretty basic negligence on the part of the owners. It's good the Air Tags finally reunited them with their stuff, but things probably would have gone much more smoothly if they'd just left some contact info inside their bag.
    Air Travel 101 also dictates that once the Airline takes control of your luggage, they're responsible for it. Failing that, they're responsible for finding what went wrong, locating it and returning it to the customer. Air Canada failed all three of those responsibilities. In addition, when Air Canada was notified that the owners knew where the bag was, they failed again by not going and getting it. Then the police failed by telling them they didn't own their luggage anymore, since Air Canada had turned it over to a lost luggage warehouse.

    So, now you have a cohice: put your personal information in the bag, and let thieves know your phone number and where you live, or don't and risk losing it to "charity" (anyone who believes that deserves to lose their bags). Third and best option: put some unique identifier known only to you on the outside of the bag (use a permanent marker or sew on patch), and photograph it. From all sides. When the airline fails you, send them the photo so they can plainly see which "lost" bag is yours.

    And use AirTags. Always. And check the batteries before you leave.
    What sort of dystopian hellscape do you live in that you’re too afraid to put your name and phone number on and in your luggage so that you can get it back if it’s misdirected in transit?
  • Reply 6 of 14
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,073member
    MplsP said:
    AppleZulu said:
    "Furthermore, the bag's luggage tag had disconnected, preventing identification of the owners."

    This seems like the type of information that belongs right at the top of the article. Air Travel 101 includes a chapter on putting your contact info in multiple places in your luggage. Sounds like these folks put Air Tags in there, but no contact information. The rest of the story should be far more forgiving of the airline, given some pretty basic negligence on the part of the owners. It's good the Air Tags finally reunited them with their stuff, but things probably would have gone much more smoothly if they'd just left some contact info inside their bag.
    Which luggage tag - the one you fill out with your name and address or the one that the baggage agent fills out? Or the separate sticker with a bar code? The article doesn't state which and doesn't state whether the owners had a personal ID tag. it also doesn't state whether they had any identification inside the bag or if the airline even tried to find it. Since the owners knew enough to put an AirTag in the luggage i presume they also had an ID tag. That would mean at least 3 forms of identification got detached from the bag. I call B.S. on AirCanada's part
    If those tags are attached to one handle that breaks, it’d be pretty easy to lose the lot. Also, the article pretty clearly infers that the owner did not place contact info inside the bag. 
  • Reply 7 of 14
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,492member
    I put a business card inside all of my bags, checked and carry-on. My headphone case even has a business card holder built into it. This provides a small degree of separation between disclosing too much personal information and improving the likelihood that you’ll get a lost bag back. I have no problem giving out my work address, email, and phone number. Far from perfect. I’ve had bags delayed on several occasions but so-far, none lost. 

    There are a number of ways to mentally process all of these “new” revelations being exposed by AirTags. The first thing to come to terms with is that nothing has really changed - not at the root cause level. 

    Lost and mislaid baggage has been happening ever since people have been flying. These tags just give us a tiny bit of visibility into what’s always been happening. So why the sudden animosity against airlines who are simply doing what they’ve always been doing? What they’ve been doing is providing excellent service for the vast majority of their customers. 

    AirTags provide a way for a large group of absolute strangers to publicly humiliate the airlines for the few mistakes they make. How would you like having a mass of strangers given a mechanism to capture and publicly call you out for your mistakes? If you’re human I bet you make a few mistakes. 

    There is another way to look at this, at least from the perspective of someone who’s been using RFID tracking devices for decades. AirTags are a clear indication that baggage handling systems could be a whole lot better if the individual bags could not only be tracked within the confines of the baggage handling system (typically with bar codes and tags) but from where the bags are first committed to a trip at home to when they are at their final destination, including baggage claim, taxi ride to your hotel, and dropped off or carried to your room. 

    This may sound excessive, but the airlines only track your bag when it’s within the confines of their system. Once it leaves their boundaries, they no longer see it in real time. But AirTags still see it, at least in near real time. Rather than finger pointing and blamestorming, these AirTags stories should be seen as an area of concern that’s ripe for cooperation between the airlines and their passengers. 

    muthuk_vanalingamget seriousJP234
  • Reply 8 of 14
    AppleZulu said:
    lkrupp said:
    Airlines are scumbags, every last one of them, with thieves for employees. That goes for UPS, FedEx, and the USPS too.
    That’s quite a bunker you live in, there. 
    It's harsh, because keeping track of billions of bags a year is no mean feat, but airlines *do* lie like 10-year-olds when they're caught doing anything negligent. AirTags are a great way to help keep them honest, although several recent stories have shown that even presenting them with inarguable facts of their incompetence doesn't necessarily spur a proper response.
  • Reply 9 of 14
    AppleZulu said:
    JP234 said:
    AppleZulu said:
    "Furthermore, the bag's luggage tag had disconnected, preventing identification of the owners."

    This seems like the type of information that belongs right at the top of the article. Air Travel 101 includes a chapter on putting your contact info in multiple places in your luggage. 
    So, now you have a choice: put your personal information in the bag, and let thieves know your phone number and where you live, or don't and risk losing it to "charity."
    What sort of dystopian hellscape do you live in that you’re too afraid to put your name and phone number on and in your luggage so that you can get it back if it’s misdirected in transit?
    That "dystopian hellscape" is commonly known as the "real world."
    I'd agree, except that, in the dystopian hellscape we call reality, your name, address and phone number are readily available from other sources. Thieves are unlikely to use a written tag to start identity fraud or other nefarious schemes.
    AppleZulu
  • Reply 10 of 14
    JP234 said:

    So, now you have a cohice: put your personal information in the bag, and let thieves know your phone number and where you live, or don't and risk losing it to "charity" (anyone who believes that deserves to lose their bags).
    Why do you need to put your address inside? Wouldn't the phone number be enough? And if you're really paranoid, just put your email address. They're easy enough to change if something untoward happens, unlike phone numbers.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,073member
    cincytee said:
    AppleZulu said:
    lkrupp said:
    Airlines are scumbags, every last one of them, with thieves for employees. That goes for UPS, FedEx, and the USPS too.
    That’s quite a bunker you live in, there. 
    It's harsh, because keeping track of billions of bags a year is no mean feat, but airlines *do* lie like 10-year-olds when they're caught doing anything negligent. AirTags are a great way to help keep them honest, although several recent stories have shown that even presenting them with inarguable facts of their incompetence doesn't necessarily spur a proper response.
    Yeah, I'm not saying there are no problems, because that would be silly. But to say that all of those businesses and all of their employees are scumbags and thieves is not only ridiculous, but profoundly antisocial. The sheer amount of people and stuff that are actually successfully pumped through those systems every day is a testament to the people who do that work - which is not only thankless work, but apparently comes with banked condemnation, as well.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 14
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 2,073member
    JP234 said:
    AppleZulu said:
    JP234 said:
    AppleZulu said:
    "Furthermore, the bag's luggage tag had disconnected, preventing identification of the owners."

    This seems like the type of information that belongs right at the top of the article. Air Travel 101 includes a chapter on putting your contact info in multiple places in your luggage. Sounds like these folks put Air Tags in there, but no contact information. The rest of the story should be far more forgiving of the airline, given some pretty basic negligence on the part of the owners. It's good the Air Tags finally reunited them with their stuff, but things probably would have gone much more smoothly if they'd just left some contact info inside their bag.
    Air Travel 101 also dictates that once the Airline takes control of your luggage, they're responsible for it. Failing that, they're responsible for finding what went wrong, locating it and returning it to the customer. Air Canada failed all three of those responsibilities. In addition, when Air Canada was notified that the owners knew where the bag was, they failed again by not going and getting it. Then the police failed by telling them they didn't own their luggage anymore, since Air Canada had turned it over to a lost luggage warehouse.

    So, now you have a cohice: put your personal information in the bag, and let thieves know your phone number and where you live, or don't and risk losing it to "charity" (anyone who believes that deserves to lose their bags). Third and best option: put some unique identifier known only to you on the outside of the bag (use a permanent marker or sew on patch), and photograph it. From all sides. When the airline fails you, send them the photo so they can plainly see which "lost" bag is yours.

    And use AirTags. Always. And check the batteries before you leave.
    What sort of dystopian hellscape do you live in that you’re too afraid to put your name and phone number on and in your luggage so that you can get it back if it’s misdirected in transit?
    That "dystopian hellscape" is commonly known as the "real world."
    If you're so paranoid you can't even put your name and phone number on and in your luggage, you should just go ahead and stay home.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 13 of 14
    Name and frequent flying number should be good as additional contact info. The airline will be able to track you but any rando who grabs your bags won't have much luck. I'm not sure how often they actually open the bags. I had one lost for 3 months that was returned unopened. Having something visually distinct on the outside of it is probably your best bet.
    Hallel
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