Lufthansa has told passengers to turn off tracking devices in their luggage after deeming them as “dangerous goods.”
Passengers flying with the German airline have been told to remove batteries from trackers like Apple AirTags prior to flying, according to the local publication WirtschaftsWoche.
This happens at a time when more travellers than ever are using tracking devices to prevent their luggage from being lost, the New Zealand Herald reports.
In the August report, Lufthansa told WirtschaftsWoche they considered the devices to be similar to laptops and phones, which cannot be stored in checked bags.
“Baggage trackers belong to the category of portable electronic devices and are therefore subject to the dangerous goods regulations for carriage in airplanes issued by the International Civil Aviation Organisation,” a spokesperson said.
“Accordingly, due to their transmission function, the trackers must be used similarly to cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc. during the flight if they are in checked baggage.”
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Following the news, the airline confirmed via Twitter that AirTags must be deactivated if stored in checked luggage.
“Lufthansa is banning activated AirTags from luggage as they are classified as dangerous and need to be turned off,” read a tweet from the airline’s official Twitter account.
“According to ICAO guidelines, baggage trackers are subject to the dangerous goods regulations. Furthermore, due to their transmission function, the trackers must be deactivated during the flight if they are in checked baggage and cannot be used as a result,” they wrote in an additional tweet.
Tracking devices have surged in popularity over recent months. Travellers typically place one in their luggage to try and avoid losing track of their suitcase during a time of disruption and chaos in larger international airports.
In some instances, passengers have used tag data to challenge airlines and airports who claim they don’t have their luggage.
One person was able to use their Apple AirTag to prove an airline worker had stolen their luggage and taken it home. The employee was later charged with theft.
Some have been able to use data from their tags to contradict airlines’ claims about where their luggage was located.
Most famously, one man used his Apple AirTag helped track a lost bag to an airline worker’s home, who was subsequently charged with theft.
According to a spokesperson for Berlin Brandenburg Airport, while the airport did not have a ban on trackers, if the Lufthansa did, they would abide by their guidelines.
This means active trackers in bags heading to a Lufthansa flight could be confiscated, they told local publication, Watson.
“Basically, my colleagues deal with the baggage act according to the specifications of the airlines. Because [airlines basically decide] what is and is not allowed on board their planes,” the spokesperson said.
Lufthansa has been approached for comment.
This article originally appeared in the New Zealand Herald and was reproduced with permission