Air New Zealand wanted to ban passengers from using AirTags… but failed in the argument

Imagem AirTags da Apple para localizar bagagem

This theme of classifieds being placed in luggage will return in 2022. With flight delays, lost bags and little response from airlines, passengers have started to use these AirTags-like devices more to understand where their luggage is. Thanks to this type of device, many passengers were able to pick up their bags. However, there seem to be companies that don’t like locators.

This time it was the airline Air New Zealand that tried to ban devices like AirTags and Tile. Only he wasn’t very happy with the excuse!

Apple's system leverages the Find My network and uses iPhones to map and triangulate the location of the tracked object, reporting the information anonymously to the AirTag owner. No doubt the system works very well as there are millions of iPhones on the planet and many always report the location of the tags.

As such, many passengers started packing these devices into their bags. Success stories started to spread across the internet and it all snowed. Using AirTags in suitcases is getting trivial.

Airlines don't want AirTags in their luggage... why?

Air New Zealand is the latest company that doesn't seem happy with using this gadget. The airline is advising its customers not to use object finders on their checked baggage, while the airline is already preparing to review procedures early next year.

However, the New Zealand Aviation Security Service says there are no instructions to remove AirTags and the like from bags. In addition, the Australian competitor Jetstar says that passengers can use it.

The Air New Zealand website has a comment about baggage finders for "traveling with lithium batteries and devices that run on lithium batteries".

According to airline rules, only battery-powered baggage finders that can be turned off in checked baggage will be accepted. Therefore, this "nuance" says that devices that do not have an automatic on/off function cannot be used in flight.

Illustration of situations where AirTags are essential and Air New Zealand wouldn't let it go

But can locators like AirTags or Tile be used or not?

Well, baggage trackers like Apple's and Tile's AirTags have become the most talked about travel accessory in 2022 as the understaffed airline industry struggles to keep up with demand, leading to widespread problems with delays and baggage loss.

The devices allow passengers to track the location of their luggage via their phone, tablet or computer. And they are always activated, from the moment they are activated and have a battery with energy. So they are always on.

Faced with this situation of lack of coordination, an Air New Zealand spokesperson stated:

Products like the AirTag and Tile are portable electronic devices that cannot be turned off. Dangerous goods regulations currently prohibit their carriage in checked baggage.

As part of Air New Zealand's safety management system, a review of these products is likely to take place in early 2023. After that, discussions can take place with the regulatory authority.

The spokesman pointed to the technical instructions of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for the safe transport of dangerous goods.

So according to the rules lithium batteries in the devices are allowed in checked baggage, but the device must be turned off completely, with measures to prevent accidental activation. However, it is unclear how this will be implemented, as a spokesperson for the New Zealand Aviation Security Service stated that it was not instructed by the airlines or the regulators - ICAO or the International Air Transport Association (IATA) - to remove AirTags. or similar products from bags.

What inspection does this company perform on passengers?

After these vague statements and confusing rules, the company was asked about such supervision. An Air New Zealand spokesperson said it is asking all passengers to indicate at check-in whether they are carrying prohibited or other dangerous goods.

Again, there is an incongruity in this attempt to apply the rule. This is because the Jetstar website says that devices with lithium batteries that are in checked baggage must have the power switch secured to prevent accidental activation. But when asked about devices like AirTags, a Jetstar spokesperson said these were allowed in both carry-on and checked bags..

Incidentally, these confusions are not unique to Air New Zealand. As you will recall, German airline Lufthansa also came under fire last month for its policy on the use of baggage finders.

This aviation giant has also tried to discourage passengers from using these devices, such as AirTags. On a first approximation, these were "dangerous" and "must be disabled". To make this claim, they cited International Civil Aviation Organization guidelines for dangerous goods.

Apple rejected this claim and shared a statement with the New York Times stating that AirTags "complied with international safety regulations for cabin and checked baggage."

Apple's statements, as well as the stance of other companies and even products that different airlines would promote from the same range, led Lufthansa to later backtrack and release a statement stating that the German aviation authorities agreed with the aviation risk assessment that the tracking devices such as AirTags pose no security risk.

IATA, which represents 290 airlines, also said in a statement to Euronews that the potential safety risks of AirTags appeared minimal, and that there was an industry consensus to exempt them, as well as other tracking devices, from the Dangerous Goods Regulations. , provided the lithium cell does not exceed a certain level, and the tracking devices only use Bluetooth.

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