A small device the size of a coin can be put in luggage, and it will automatically transmit its location to Apple devices. This has already helped countless passengers pinpoint exactly where their belongings are if they go missing.
And now one of the largest airlines in the world has announced that it will no longer allow Apple AirTags on its aircraft. The explanation is simple: “Baggage tracking devices are categorized as portable electronic devices and are therefore subject to the dangerous goods regulations issued by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) for transport in aircraft. Accordingly, due to their active signals, trackers must be deactivated during flight, like mobile phones, laptops, tablets, etc.».
Expert opinion is divided. It is possible that Lufthansa is not against the RFID tags themselves, especially since
carrying them in luggage has become very common in recent months.
The ban could apply to lithium batteries that power devices. According to ICAO rules, devices with lithium batteries cannot be checked in if they cannot be turned off.
Of course, in our case, the CR2032 battery is the size of a small coin and is traditionally used in watches and car key fobs. It contains about 0.1 gram of lithium metal — negligible amount. But rules are rules.
Anxiety is associated with the risk of fire. It is much easier to put out a fire in the cabin using on-board fire extinguishers. Putting out an in-flight fire in the cargo hold is not easy.
The question is, how will Lufthansa check for an Apple AirTag in a closed suitcase? Customers can be asked about this at the baggage check-in desk, but what if the passenger says no? After all, security checks nothing but weight at check-in.
After a summer of travel disruptions, including at Frankfurt Airport (FRA), AirTag has become an invaluable tool for finding lost and mishandled luggage. Now, Lufthansa passengers, as well as Lufthansa Group carriers Austrian, Swiss and Brussels, may have to stop using RFID tags.
In fact, there is so little lithium in devices that the risk of fire is almost zero. In any case, there are no known facts when the devices caught fire in the cargo hold of the aircraft.