As a frequent flyer, you frequently hand over your possessions to the airline, only to hope and pray you never hear the four scariest words that can be said in an airport: “We lost your bags.” Of course, lost luggage is par for the course when it comes to air travel, and is a risk we all assume when taking to the skies, right? Well, not necessarily anymore, with the help of AirTags.
How AirTags can keep track of your luggage
AirTags is they are very good at tracking things. They can communicate with any device on the Find My network, which loosely translates to almost any Apple device connected to the internet. If your AirTag passes by other iPhones, those iPhones will update the tag’s location along the way. That means if someone with an Find My Apple device steals your AirTag, or the item the AirTag is currently hiding in, then the thief is effectively tracking themself.
As it turns out, AirTags are perfect for tracking your luggage between airports. AirTag location tracking isn’t always in real time, but with one in your suitcase, you can see approximately where your bag is as you wait for it at the baggage claim carousel. Everyone else will be standing around in ignorance, wondering when the bags will arrive, but not you.
Speaking of which, an AirTag can also prevent the classic baggage claim switcheroo: Someone sees your bag, thinks, “Hey, that looks like mine,” and makes off with it. You’ll know your bag is on the move with the Find My app, and can keep an eye on it as it moves.
AirTags protect you from your airline
But those are far from an AirTags only benefits in your luggage. The better reason is as a form of insurance against the airline you’re flying with, in the event they “lose” your luggage. Airlines lose luggage all the time, and it’s a pain in the ass. That’s why I never keep any of my essential items, like medicine or work equipment, in my checked bags, rather storing them in my carry-on when possible. (It doesn’t hurt to stuff an extra outfit in your carry-on if you can manage it, too.)
In the past, we had to take the airline’s word for where our luggage really was. There was no way to know for sure, and it wasn’t clear whether you’d ever see your bag and the things inside it ever again. Today, we’re empowered by technology. With an AirTag confidently stored inside your checked baggage, you’ll always know its general location. If the airline tries to tell you it’s somewhere it’s not, you can pull up the Find My app and call them on their bullshit.
People have already put this idea to the test. As reported by AppleInsider, Valerie Syzbala went viral tweeting about her experience with United Airlines and her “missing” bag. United Airlines support insisted the bag was at a distribution center and would be delivered to her, but Syzbala could clearly see her bag was at an apartment complex. Sometimes, the bag would move to stops like McDonald’s and shopping centers, but would always return to the same innocuous apartment complex.
Eventually, Syzbala went to the complex (with a news crew), met up with an apparent delivery driver, who handed her back her bag. United provided no explanation for what happened, and there’s no telling if she ever would have retrieved her bag without the AirTag inside reporting back its location. And while it appeared the bag hadn’t been opened, the entire experience was bewildering to say the least.
Szybala’s experience is bizarre, but not improbable. Your luggage could easily find itself in a similar situation. If you pop a $30 AirTag inside, you can protect yourself from an aggressive airline that insists you quiet down and wait for them to deliver your bag to you—which, of course, they may never actually do.