Lufthansa representatives stated on the airline’s official Twitter twice during the weekend that the company will now add the Apple AirTag tracker to its ban list. In the first Tweet, they wrote that the ban applies to active trackers placed in checked baggage, and in the second post, they referred to a rule of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), according to which objects that emit or receive signals must be turned off for travel safety.
This is where the story begins: representatives of the German airline claimed on Twitter that AirTags will be banned. (source: Twitter) [+]
Lufthansa is the half-information spread on social media Airways Magazinedenied it in The representative of the company told the paper that the company does not ban AirTag, but at the same time, there is an ICAO regulation for electronic devices referred to on Twitter. This determines which battery-equipped electronic devices can be transported in checked baggage, and prohibits gadgets with active lithium-ion batteries, such as phones or tablets, and completely prohibits electronic cigarettes and portable chargers. The AirTag, on the other hand, does not operate with such a battery, it uses a CR2032 battery, which is also used by average watches.
It is more likely that instead of the ICAO rules, the Lufthansa representative wanted to refer to the central regulations established by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and accepted by the airlines, which do not specify what kind of battery should be in the devices, but simply say that all portable electronic devices should be switched off must be included in checked baggage. THE Macworld asked several airlines and the American Transportation Safety Board, they unanimously answered that there is no regulation exclusively for the AirTag introduced in April 2021 or similar devices, so Lufthansa – or even any airline – can use IATA’s broadly interpretable wording if they really want to block trackers from your machines.
Regulations adopted by airlines that apply to the transport of personal electronic devices. (source: One Mile At A Time) [+]
Behind the whole case, there are probably not flight safety and legal issues, but rather PR issues at the German company. This summer, Lufthansa found itself in an embarrassing situation on several occasions due to mixed-up luggage, which the owners of the suitcases tracked using AirTag in many cases, and the company’s not necessarily customer-oriented reactions to finding the bags and delivering them to the rightful owner were broadcast on the Internet.