Apple AirTags and Equivalent Bluetooth Tracking Devices (for luggage and other personal items)

Having never used an a bluetooth tracker, I was always intrigued by the Apple AirTags. That said, recent travel woes in the news - search "Heathrow Terminal 2 Baggage" and seeing articles of people be told their bags are "lost" by customer service but the traveler being able to track, locate, and direct said customer service to "find" said bag made me think harder on the subject.

Heathrow Airport passengers still chasing baggage days after 'technical issue' causes chaos

I took the plunge and last week and bought 4 AirTags (via amazon returns to get them a tad bit cheaper) and will see how they work. I know they won't solve all issues, but they appear to give the traveler just a bit more piece of mind and knowledge of where their luggage may be at any given moment. Have any of you used them? Thoughts?

Why AirTags are the ultimate travel companion this summer
The airline couldn’t find my luggage — luckily I had Apple AirTags

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Comments

  • edited June 27

    We purchased and used the AirTags on our recent trip. They worked great and it was a comfort to know our bags made it. There was a couple on our trip who were also using the tags. I believe there was an issue with a flight connection and although they could see their bags at the Budapest airport, it was midway through the trip before they were delivered to them. Bottom line, helpful but doesn’t solve all the problems.

  • Yes, I’ve used them on two different trips.at home, I put on AirTag in my handbag as well.

  • We used air tags on our recent land tour and it was nice to be able to check that our bags were actually on the bus before we departed.

  • Thanks for the suggestion. I ordered some for our next trip.

  • We just ordered AirTags for our K/T trip. Lots of good reviews about them.

  • I'm confused! I just checked out the Apple AirTags and saw that they used lithium batteries. I thought that lithium batteries were not allowed in checked luggage. What am I missing (which, I admit, could be almost everything)?

  • edited June 28

    Here is the technical answer:

    Any lithium ion battery containing more than 160-watt hours is prohibited from carriage on all passenger aircraft. Lithium ion batteries installed in a personal electronic device can be transported as checked or carry-on baggage. (160-watt hours is a big honkin' battery and a lot of power!!)

    The AirTag uses a 3.2v CR2032 Lithium coin battery which can only produce 210mAh (210 milli-Amp- hour) which is only .21 Amp hours. At 3.2v it only produces .672-watt hours No problemo.

    From the FAA: Baggage equipped with lithium batteries must be carried as carry-on baggage unless the batteries are removed from the baggage. Removed batteries must be carried in accordance with the provision for spare batteries.

    This restriction in checked baggage does not apply to baggage containing lithium metal batteries with a lithium content not exceeding 0.3 grams, or lithium ion batteries with a Watt-hour rating not exceeding 2.7 Wh.

    See the regulation: 49 CFR 175.10(a)(26)

    Here is the official guidance in a nice table format:

    https://www.faa.gov/hazmat/packsafe/resources/media/Airline_passengers_and_batteries.pdf

  • MCD
    I'm confused! I just checked out the Apple AirTags and saw that they used lithium batteries. I thought that lithium batteries were not allowed in checked luggage. What am I missing (which, I admit, could be almost everything)?

    See AlanS's response just above for the technical answer. The practical answer is the CR2032 battery is used in SO many electronic devices that you may have already checked some in baggage before and didn't even know it. It's used in watches, kids toys/books, laser pointers, medical devices (BP monitors, glucometers) and the list goes on an on. And I'm sure there are other small lithium batteries that are used in many more..

    My "used" ones arrived today. Basically it looks like an opened box item. Brand new in the apple packaging, but no exterior box. Not bad to save $13. I plan on tossing one in each suitcase and in the carry-ons.

  • Thanks, dogdoctor and AlanS. How did I miss Alan's response? I must have stopped at the words "technical answer!"

  • MCD
    7:36AM
    Thanks, dogdoctor and AlanS. How did I miss Alan's response? I must have stopped at the words "technical answer!"

  • Air tags are great we can see our luggage made the plane and if not where it is!!!!

  • Call me cynical but after reading KHChgo's comment about fellow travelers knowing where their luggage was but still not getting it for days, I think I'll save my money and trust Delta's app. That and packing a change of clothes in my carry on.

  • edited July 4

    We had lost luggage on our Morocco tour. If we had the air tags, we would have known which airline had the bags (American or Air Morrocco), and when the bags finally got in country we would have known if they were at Casablanca or Fez. Knowing the location would have allowed us to deal with the proper people. So, for example, if American said they didn't have the bags, we could have told them exactly where the bags were in their facility. And when they arrived in country, we would have known were to go to pick them up.

    It may not be perfect, but it's better than no information.

    I bought a set of air tags for our next trip.

  • Mike, maybe the key is not just having the tags but being willing to work with the airlines to do something about it. Reminds me of Alan's recent travel saga when he saw his bags on the tarmac and raised heck until the crew got them aboard.

  • We just bought 6 AirTags (a 4 pack and 2 individuals) for our Sept trip with Tauck - one for each suitcase, one for his day bag, one for my purse, and one for each Rick Steves HideAway tote we use to bring back purchases in. They were actually slightly cheaper on Amazon. We bought 6 Otterbox holders for them. Our luggage got lost in Vienna pre-covid and it was 39 hours before we heard from the airport that it had been found. Thankfully we always fly in early, or our luggage wouldn't have made it on the river cruise with us. For the cost of our Tauck trips - $27 per tag is nothing. Thanks for the tip on this MikeHenderson and dogdoctor.

  • Sometimes I misplace my keys even at home and through the Find My on my iPhone make the AirTags beep and the location beeps where the AirTags are. It’s a miracle.

  • I’m watching my bags right now. It’s wild that you get a notification that “Blue Suitcase Left Behind: This item is no longer detected near you. It was last seen near Boston Logan International Airport.”

    I can see the carry-ons right next to me. I can see the checked bags are in the terminal (so I suspect in baggage below me).

    Our Frankfurt connection will be close. So I’ll be keeping an eye on the bags.

  • @ Claudia Sails - I can assure you we were more than willing to work with the airlines to do something about it. In our situation, American said they didn't have the bags and Air Morrocco said they didn't have the bags. If we had the air tags, I could have told them where the bags were (who had them) and held their feet to the fire.

  • I admit I do not have these "Air Tags" and really only learned about them from the discussions herein. I do know that Air France has used Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for baggage tracking since 2020. I know this because I still have the e-mail they sent me in 2019. I do not know if the technology has been fully implemented within the entire international aircraft community.

    I have no clue how many U. S. carriers have implemented this technology. Are these tags really necessary or perhaps just a passing fad to have the latest gadgets? If my luggage doesn't make it to my destination when I do, there's nothing I can do about it if an air tag tells me the luggage is on a carousel in Kalamazoo.

    I'm not being flippant, just not understanding the need for these things. If they provide security for some, I guess they might be worth it.

  • kfnknfzk
    If my luggage doesn't make it to my destination when I do, there's nothing I can do about it if an air tag tells me the luggage is on a carousel in Kalamazoo.

    I'm not being flippant, just not understanding the need for these things. If they provide security for some, I guess they might be worth it.

    It’s not that you can’t do anything, it’s more about accountability in todays new age of travel. Due to disgruntled travelers, overloaded phones, and overworked/abused staff, the generic answer nowadays from customer service is “it’s lost and we’ll let you know when it’s found.” Which while true, doesn’t inspire confidence in me since I’ve read reports of people still getting that line 5 weeks later. If I can take some ownership of my bags and not rely solely on the word of an agent looking at a computer, it’s helps me force their hand.

    As an added bonus the AirTags also can act as an ownership ID and help you find lost items by location and sound.

    My wife really didn’t see the need for them. I wanted them for my personal knowledge of where my bags are regardless of what the airline is telling me.

  • America airlines have the same as Air France, we know when our bags are loaded on the plane or not.

  • There's a news piece on Delta's website from 2016 when they started using RFID. I use the Delta app to check where our bags are every step of the way. Given where we live we typically have multiple connections so it's been very handy. The app also saved some confusion once when Delta had switched the plane out for a slightly different one. My printed boarding pass said our seats with one thing and the app said something else. I walked up to the gate agent and pointed it out. She very nonchalantly said something like "we changed planes" and printed out new boarding passes. Could have been an interesting time if we'd gotten on board with the wrong seat assignments.

  • We always know where are bags are at all times: in the bin above our seat. Two weeks, two months, doesn’t matter learning to pack light is liberating. We have not checked luggage in decades since a terrible misdirected bags incidence with 3 kids on a cruise. We pack this way, it never fails!

  • That happened to us, we got turfed out of our seats even though we had paper boarding passes. They were adding more and more passengers as we were boarding to make a full flight

  • Good for you FolsomDoc. Here's a similar video I watched years ago. A woman on a river cruise packing an amazing amount in a hardside carryon. One day I want to take a Rick Steves tour just to see If I could do carryon only.

  • These are very talented and gifted travelers that can accomplish this feat. I’m in complete awe. I did that once for 10 days snd it was a complete challenge. I’m not saying it can’t be done. I just know I like a variety I’m jealous.

  • Are they talented or do they just smell bad after a few days?

  • No, smelling bad is not an option. We wash underwear and socks in the sink, always travel with Ex Offficio or Tilley stuff that dries overnight. If we are in a hotel for two nights or more we send out laundry. This is not for everyone, and I get it. After over 20 trips to Europe alone we know it works for us.

  • My husband has worn ExOfficio under garments for years. I also have their camisoles. We save some exclusively for travel. They last for years if properly laundered. When the elastic on his shorts start to stretch out, I simply sew on a new band using the zigzag feature on my sewing machine. They truly are a great product!

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