Lufthansa has confused a lot of passengers during the past few months, basically saying that placing Apple AirTags as tracking devices into checked baggage isn’t allowed due to safety concerns.
Lufthansa was one of the very few carriers that have resisted tracking devices on passenger baggage but since the German regulator (LBA) came out with a directive that there is no safety risk originating from AirTags the carrier finally relented this week.
It was long assumed that Lufthansa only used safety reasons as an excuse to get rid of AirTags as many passengers were able to successfully trace their lost baggage yet Lufthansa itself is simply incapable to trace and return the property to the owner in a timely fashion.
Passengers then calling the airline or showing up at the airport, being able to precisely tell the location of the lost items and demanding to get it didn’t exactly please the airline too much as it “disrupts the process” which has been in place for decades.
Yesterday, Lufthansa published a Tweet saying the regulator shared their (Lufthansa’s) view that tracking devices were safe:
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) October 12, 2022
This is a laughable context as it was always the carrier itself that dragged its tail when it came to AirTags as they created lots of trouble for the airline.
The thing with lost baggage is that under normal circumstances, when carriers have ample resources in staff and funds it should take a maximum of 48-72 hours to be reunited with the baggage, often even within 36 hours.
With Lufthansa being severely short-staffed, however. reconciling baggage with the owner has often taken weeks this year. This has caused many (including myself) to no longer check-in bags with Lufthansa unless I had some extra layer of security in the form of AirTag tracing.
We have covered this topic as well in the past:
The AirTags have served me well while traveling, and when at home, I can also use them for other items I want to trace in case I misplace them, or they get stolen.
Coming back to the topic of Lufthansa, I feel they faced so much pressure that the announcement by the LBA that AirTags are safe provided a face-saving solution to finally put this matter to rest and formally allow the tags to be placed inside checked baggage.
So far, while never formally allowed, the airline has not taken steps to actively prevent people from adding the devices to the checked baggage. The only way to really enforce a ban would be a detailed screening of each checked bag to detect and remove the AirTag.
Even if technically possible, it’d be a very labor- and technology-intensive process that doesn’t justify the effort. Imagine having to go through each bag checked daily (hundreds of thousands) just to detect harmless AirTags. Lufthansa knew full well these items were safe, they just didn’t like the pesky passengers bothering their baggage departments following lost suitcases.