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AirTags for checked baggage – the good and bad news

If you were wondering if you could use AirTags to track your checked baggage and find out if it really is where the airline says it is, a travel site says the answer is yes.

There is a scenario where AirTag does not help, but …

Executive travelers outlined some common utility cases and tested one of them.

We have all stood around in airport baggage carousels, waiting for the bags to be pampered from the gutter and then making our way along the creeping conveyor belt to wherever we stand.

Could Apple’s latest gadget be the hottest travel accessory since noise-canceling headphones? Executive Traveler drove to the airport with AirTagged luggage in tow to find out.

The first good news is that while there may potentially be legal or security issues, this does not appear to be the case in practice.

Obvious Question # 1

: AirTag constantly transmits small Bluetooth burps, but airlines do not want Bluetooth gadgets to be disabled during the flight?

Other luggage trackers like Tile have been doing the same for years, while passengers have wireless Bluetooth headphones and earphones, so this is really not a problem.

Also worth noting: While carriers have banned rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs from checked baggage (including so-called ‘smart baggage’), this does not apply to the small disposable lithium CR2023 cells. In addition, they are already in millions of tiles and keychains sitting in cargo holds.

AirTags are also likely to prove useful when your bag disappears along the way, or just when you want assurance that it is somewhere in the airport.

A colleague told how her bag did not arrive on the belt when she arrived on a flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, and eventually she was told that her bag was actually among many that were not loaded for LAX.

It turned out does not be the case – all the bags had arrived at Sydney Airport – and a quick check of the Find My app would have shown that they were somewhere closer than 12,000km away.

Similarly, if your bag is unloaded from the carousel due to the amount of luggage, or if a bag unexpectedly ends up at the large luggage counter, an AirTag should help you identify this fact – and not let you stand and watch other people’s bags go around and round.

There is one scenario where it does not help though: tracking your bag through the airport belt system, despite the fact that there will be airport workers with iPhones working close to it. AirTag also cannot let you read a book until your bag announces its arrival on the carousel.

After thoroughly testing AirTag at an airport, we can report that this is not what happens. In this scenario, Apple’s AirTag simply does not work.

AirTags live here-I-am tracking is not intended for moving objects unless they do so at the most leisurely pace. And while the average airport luggage belt is no threat to Usain Bolt, it runs too fast for AirTag’s virtual hand gesture to be correctly identified. […]

Even having an iPhone 12 to take advantage of Precision Finding was the only time the AirTagged bag appeared on my screen while being carried along the belt as it was literally right in front of me.

Via the loop

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