Hardware

Can I put an Apple AirTag in hold luggage?

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Taking flight: Apple's AirTags can be used in hold suitcases

If you own an Apple AirTag, one potential use for the tracking device that you may have considered is popping it in a suitcase. If an airline were to lose your luggage, you might at least get a clue as to where it is. But there has been some confusion over whether the battery inside the AirTag is safe for checked luggage. So can you put an Apple AirTag in hold luggage? Let’s find out.

The rules on Apple AirTags in hold luggage

The confusion over whether you could put AirTags in hold luggage was spurred by the German airline, Lufthansa. It briefly claimed that the tracking devices shouldn’t be put into hold luggage, presumably because of concerns over the battery, which cannot be switched off.

When you check battery-powered items, you’re normally told to pack them in such a way that they cannot be accidentally activated. With an AirTag, the only way to prevent it being activated is to remove the battery altogether, which rather defeats the object of the device.

However, it’s since been clarified that AirTags are allowed in hold luggage. Or, at least, that regulators have no problem with them being slipped inside suitcases.

According to a report by The Points Guy, the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has given them the green light. An FAA statement given to the site stated:

“Luggage tracking devices powered by lithium metal cells that have 0.3 grams or less of lithium can be used on checked baggage. Apple AirTags meet this threshold; other luggage tracking devices may not.”

FAA

It seems German authorities are fine with AirTags in suitcases too, according to a later statement from Lufthansa:

“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

It’s wise to check your airline’s rules before you slip an AirTag into your suitcase. For British travellers, I can see nothing in BA’s rules that would prevent you from checking a suitcase containing an AirTag, for example, but others may vary.

Even if you can check the AirTag, there’s no guarantee it will be able to reveal its location. Although it should only take a baggage handler carrying an iPhone for the device to (effectively) call home and report its whereabouts. At least you’ll know if the airline’s customer service handlers are bluffing when you ring up to find where your suitcase has gone!

How do you prevent an AirTag getting scratched?

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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