On Wednesday, the German airline Lufthansa announced that Apple AirTags and other Bluetooth monitoring devices will once again be permitted in checked luggage. The company’s previous policy had prohibited the use of such devices.
The airline said that the German Aviation Authorities (Luftfahrt-Bundesamt) have verified today that they agree with their risk assessment that tracking devices in checked bags that have extremely low battery and transmission power do not represent a safety issue. Therefore, passengers flying with Lufthansa are permitted to bring these electronic gadgets on board.
After informing customers that they would be required to disable the trackers in their bags that would be kept in cargo holds according to international norms for personal electronic devices, the airline had stirred up a storm of uncertainty and anger, which further added fuel to the fire.
On Tuesday, Apple had said that this interpretation was incorrect, and that the company’s trackers do in fact comply with all aircraft safety rules.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration, both of which are located in the United States, have both verified this information. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency stated that their regulation “does not in itself ban or allow” the trackers, but that operators have the right to determine which devices are safe to use while flying. This was stated in response to a question about whether or not the regulation allowed or banned the trackers.
It would seem that Lufthansa contacted German aviation authorities in order to get guidance. The airline’s spokesperson, Martin Leutke, said on Wednesday that he did not have any more comment about the message that was first issued on Twitter by the business.
It was reported in the German news media that Lufthansa had banned the use of the devices, and there was speculation that the airline had been embarrassed by reports of passengers using the devices to find baggage that it had lost. As a result, the policy came under fire, and Lufthansa was forced to defend it.
On Sunday, Lufthansa confirmed on Twitter that it believed the trackers in checked baggage on its flights needed to be deactivated. The airline cited the guidelines for dangerous goods established by the International Civil Aviation Organization as well as the “transmission function” of the trackers as the reasons for its belief. When the trackers are turned off, they lose their usefulness.
The trackers, which make use of Bluetooth technology and do not interfere with the communications equipment found on flights, have been given the green light by the regulatory bodies in the United States to be carried on or stored in checked luggage. Tile is one of the firms that sells comparable trackers, and it is rather popular among those who use Android phones. Other companies also offer similar trackers.
Apple has said that its AirTags are “compatible with international airline travel safety rules for carry-on and checked luggage” in a statement that the company has released.
These gadgets make use of Bluetooth Low Energy, which is the same technology that is often used in wireless headphones, which are allowed on aeroplanes. They are followed by sending a signal to adjacent Apple devices that contains their most recent position so that those devices may record it.
According to Apple, the International Civil Aviation Organization does not have any particular guidelines for devices used for monitoring cargo, and its definition of personal consumer electronic devices focuses on bigger devices like as phones, cameras, and laptops. These are often equipped with more substantial lithium batteries.
The aviation association said on Tuesday that it “does not exercise an oversight function” over the airlines and that it is not a regulator. Instead, its rules on what passengers may and may not do, as well as comparable guidance from the international trade association, filter down to the regulators and airlines, who are the ones that decide policy.
Apple has said that the batteries used in AirTags are CR2032 coin cell batteries, which are often seen in key fobs and watches. Apple claims that the Federal Aviation Administration, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, and the International Air Transport Association, which is a trade organisation for airlines, have all given their OK for the use of those batteries in all bags.
An advice issued by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2017 enables low-powered wireless communication technologies such as Bluetooth to be used aboard aircraft in the United States. According to a statement released by the Transportation Security Administration on Monday, the company’s position that “tracking devices are permissible in both carry-on and checked luggage” was validated.