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Air New Zealand Advises Passengers Not To Use Baggage Trackers

How did baggage trackers become so popular? With the chaotic mixture of a staffing shortage, surging passenger demand, and ramped-up flight schedules, the global aviation industry has been quite overwhelmed this year as it entered a post-pandemic recovery era. Simply put, the resources within the industry could not keep up with the increasing demand, and one consequential result was having almost 220,000 bags mishandled in April 2022 alone. ( More...

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GMSutton 38
The real reason airlines are opposed to baggage trackers is the potential for regular embarrassment!
Scumhook 2

captainfourbars 25
Sadly, this is an inevitable response to the industry failing (whether their fault or not) to handle baggage as they have to. If they accept baggage then their duty is to keep it secure and deliver it along with its owner. There is no other side to that coin. Passengers and their care must not become perceived as unimportant or even a 'nuisance' to the airlines, despite the horrendous growth of the no-frills carriers. If they can't do their job that they are being paid to do then they should own up and withdraw. They only EXIST for the sake of their passengers,
Shawn Salter 12
Yes, and it's annoying that they've not been penalized for losing baggage. If they had to pay for their carelessness we would see a different service. Something like this:

1. If we 'lose' your baggage then your flight is free.
2. If your flight departs more than 20 min. past the scheduled time then your flight is free.

They've been allowed to get away with bloody murder for years. The regulators have not been doing their jobs(paid off?). Allowing airlines to overbook and regularly 'lose' baggage is unacceptable. What other service would still be in business if their customers showed up with a reservation and were told, "Sorry, we gave your seat to someone more important", or you fly to Europe for 1 day of business, they 'lose' your bags, and you get them back after you fly back home.

Air Canada/Air France lost my bags on a trip from Vancouver to Conakry once. I got the bag back 6 months later when connecting on a different flight in Rome. 6 months later!
Scumhook 3
Posts like this make me wish for multiple-upvote ability
Alan Dahl 3
Alaska Airlines since 2010 has guaranteed that your bags will be waiting at baggage claim no more than 20 minutes after your flight arrives, if that is not the case you will receive either a $25 discount code for a future Alaksa flight or 2,500 Alaska Mileage Plan bonus miles. Why more airlines don't do this I don't know as it's one of the many small things that makes Alaska my go-to airline.
lynx318 49
Bags didn't go missing, trackers wouldn't be needed.
victorbravo77 1
"Went missing" sounds like the bags did it intentionally. Very odd.
Justthefacs 17
American is running adds on a billboard at DFW saying "Carry on Preferred." It Certainly a safe choice but how much more can you cram into a cabin at the discomfort of passengers. Terminals and TSA check points already look like Amazon at Christmas.
GMSutton 12
All airlines want to minimize checked baggage so they can maximize the amount of cargo they carry and make more money!
Fran Moreno-Randle 7
So true. Will never forget back when US Airways cancelled the very last Philly to DFW flight. Told luggage would make it within a day to DFW and be delivered to paxs (this was years ago, before luggage fiasco now). Many of us rebooked on the next day 5:30AM flight. Upon arrival to DFW we were surprised that all of our luggage was already at DFW. Finally discovered plane did go out but only with cargo and no paxs. Employee actually said airline would much rather fly cargo than people.
paul trubits 4
Hence the expression: self loading cargo
Larry Horton 6
Is anyone aware of an incident tied to these tags? Since they are not charging while on your luggage is there still a realistic risk of fire?
Ernest Ford -2
Lithium batteries don't need to be charging to catch fire, ever heard of a Samsung Note?
Stef Lar 7
If you can’t tell the difference between a non-rechargeable lithium maganese dioxide coin cell and a rechargeable li-ion battery, that’s on you.
SorenTwin 14
It's weak and cometely see-through. It's obvious that the real reason is that it adds pressure to an already broken system. Passengers will be insisting that the handlers stop what theyre doing and immediately retrieve their bags. The whole thing is about mitigating exposure of how messed up the process is.
Jim Quinn 25
Seems that these devices and their reports are embarrassing to the airline(s) with such a horrible record of mismatched destinations. But is no one actually thinking that labor costs may be drastically lowered if a passenger could locate the errant baggage and point the baggage handlers to its general location rather than having their people looking around through maybe dozens or more items for some time perhaps without a good clue as to the location of a specific piece? It seems shortsighted to me not to use every clue for the search. Of course if there is a real danger in these things I certainly would understand the ban and would comply.
ktemr20 14
I agree with you, Jim. Being able to locate your missing baggage will greatly aid airline employees in searching for it. Making an excuse that will make everyone's job harder does not seem like a fair compromise.
I want to see if it can be proven that those little coin cells pose a real hazard during flight.
John Taylor 0
What would be adequate proof for you? A plane going down in flames? Would you want to have the proof happen on your flight?
Jack Cardani 11
Last week I was traveling form LAX to JFK ,after checking into my seat at front counter the agent asked me if I had a luggage to check in and I said yes 2 and I want one to go to Hawaii and the other to Chicago . She looked at me puzzled and said No Sir we can’t do that , I looked at her and said oh well you did it 2 weeks ago ! she didn’t think it was funny.
paul trubits 1
Oldest joke in the world
avionik99 29
What a load of complete BS as the excuses to not use them! Jim is right it embarrasses them and show how inept they really are.
Lance Neward 10
Case in point: Last June, wife and I flew to Germany. Departure was delayed, so missed connex in AMS to MUC. Long story short, bags did not arrive. Next day, wife's was delivered to our hotel in MUC. I had an AirTag in my bag, so I could see that it, in fact, was actually in MUC, in the LH bag handling area.

Went back to a/p next day, explained that I knew exactly where the bag was and the airtag could put me within a meter of the bag, at which point I could make it chirp, no matter how many bags were out there. I explained that I was a former ATO manager at SFO and was well aware of the dangers that can lurk among more than 1,000 lost bags, but as LH explained to me, "It is not our policy." I offered to let an agent use my iPhone in lieu of my entering the sanctum of the bag room. "It is not our policy."

For the next two weeks, the bag stayed in exactly same place--I tracked it daily on my phone. After returning home, I checked dutifully every morning, and for the next two weeks my AirTag dutifully told me that I was still 4,260 miles from my bag.

Until one morning, one month after our original departure, the AirTag said it was at the local (our departure) airport. Delta, the carrier who handles LH here, called me and said that my bag was here and since I was traveling with them the next day, did I want to have them hold it. Like a rocket I was at the airport, picking up the bag and having a very nice conversation with the bag agent, who was incredulous, and impressed, to learn of the whole AirTag phenomenon. The advantage for me was that I had a bag already packed and ready to go for my trip the next day.

I can certainly understand why LH might want to ban the tracking units while they scrape the egg from their corporate faces. Better, perhaps, to reexamine their policies.
murray murray 10
with technology going as fast as it is these days you have to ask why are the airlines still using paper tags to track bags? they can bar code everything on a plane even the stuff that gets moved on and off why can they not just have a removable tech tag so there would be no issues?
jonchamps 18
In the past year I’ve used them for 12 flights and they’ve been invaluable, especially during a flight transfer at Detroit to Indianapolis which went very badly. The luggage door on the CRJ900 kept showing it was open when it wasn’t delaying the flight hours and twice the luggage was out on tarmac and put back. Knowing it hadn’t been left behind made a big difference.
Policy wise this is a storm in a tea cup. Has there ever been an incidence of a tag catching fire in luggage ever? No. ANZ are just covering up their luggage mishandling incompetence.
Bruce Johnson 8
AirTags use a CR2032 button battery. This type of battery has been used in desktop and laptop computers for decades, as well as many other applications, with little to no problem. They are not rechargeable, and have a hard metal shell, unlike the lithium batteries in cell/mobile phones and pads that had problems with fire. Those fire problems often happens when the lithium battery is bent or otherwise damaged, which is very difficult to do with button batteries.
Michael Foster 7
RFID tags are a possible solution. Airlines could issue permanent tags. If every luggage belt, plane side belt, storage room and carousel had readers, we could also track our own bags. One thing they could do is track carousel theft.
pagheca 13
Shavers, alarm clocks (yes, sometime I bring it with me), rechargers for phones, you name it, and all of them contains battery, and are regularly carried in cargo.

A part from the disproportionately larger battery, which is that make baggage trackers unique? That they expose the incompetence of airlines?
pagheca 12
many years ago, while traveling from Santiago de Chile to London, a baggage was lost by BA. They refused to acknowledge the damage and returned it more than 6 (yes, six!) months later after infinite calls and email from me.

According to the news, London Heatrow was flooded on the day of my arrival and they decided to ship thousands of luggages to the US in special cargo flights.

Had I had an airtag available, I would have known immediately what had happened to my stuff.
chugheset 10
Agreed! I got mine back A YEAR after it went missing! The baggage agent had the good sense to look in the outside pocket and found my business card. Go figure.
msetera 6
Sounds like a good reason to avoid flying Air New Zealand.
Jim Smirh 6
Sounds like Air New Zealand needs to read the IATA regs. Maybe they can just contact Luthansa? <> The uproar started when a non-operations employee tweeted about the ban.

Here's some more info about Apple's version from <>:"AirTags contain small CR2032 cell batteries, as opposed to the lithium ion batteries used to power laptops, mobile phones, tablets and other handheld devices, which have the potential to catch fire."

Perhaps all airlines should work on baggage tracking and not worry about tech they know nothing about. Luthansa may be simply 'suggesting' that travellers use their proprietary(?) baggage tracking system? <>
Kairho Carroll 7
Quick note on the misleading statement ... CR2032 and other lithium coin cell batteries are indeed lithium ion batteries ... the comparison they were trying to make is that coin cells are significantly smaller than the batteries in the larger devices.

As to IATA, their regs state that lithium batteries containing under 2 grams of lithium may be in checked bags; a CR2032 typically contains only 0.109 grams of lithium. So IATA has no problem with the baggage trackers.
Refs: and
Kim Hackett 1
CR2032 have been used for years in laptops without any issues or concerns by the airlines.
Why is it when these SAME batteries are used in AirTags there is a new and sudden concern?
Nige Lites 5
If it is a matter of the fire risk of Lithium batteries, could they not use Alkaline Button Cells, AFAIK these have not been implicated as a fire risk.

As for the RF interference of the bluetooth part, maybe they could have a timed "sleep" mode that only turns on the Tracking after a pre-set delay that is based on a fair estimate of the flight duration - including an allowance for any 'reasonable' operational flight delay.
w2bsa 7
I can guarantee that the Bluetooth transmitter isn’t the problem since Bluetooth signals are in the industrial frequency band, far away from aviation frequencies. The so called problem is the battery. Yes, lithium batteries can be a potential fire hazard, but, simply using a alkaline button battery will fix the problem. However, I agree with the others on this post that it’s more likely the lost baggage embarrassment for the airlines.
dodger4 2
And as for this b/s lithium battery problem...firstly not many trackers have these expensive batteries in them - more frequently NiCad or regular alkaline batteries (accounting for the short life of these devices). Secondly the issue with Lithium batteries occurs during charging at high charge rates, not during discharge, and particularly at the microscopic currents involved in these short-range devices.

Somebody at ANZ and Lufthansa definitely has to get it together.
chugheset 1
Lithium batteries are made to deliver high output with minimal weight. Battery components are designed to be lightweight, which translates into thin partitions between cells and a thin outer covering. The partitions or coating are fairly fragile, so they can be punctured. If the battery is damaged, a short occurs. This spark can ignite the highly reactive lithium.
conradp99 2
I'll pay attention when they crack down on ALL OTHER checked items that *might* have a coin-style, AA, or AAA lithium battery: mini flashlights, toothbrushes, shavers, insulin meters, hearing aids, cell phones, smart watches.... As to 'always on' Bluetooth, let's see the data/reasoning showing the "frequency threat" potential.
ImperialEagle 5
Given the Government of New Zealand's almost complete transformation into a Fascist country none of this is a surprise to me.
Personally I will continue to use my tracker as long as the airlines continue to lose my luggage. And ESPECIALLY those airlines that gouge their pax with luggage fees. Those people HAVE to use trackers or face a nightmare of property loss and the hassle associated with trying to find their luggage.
At some point the airlines must take responsibility and quit making excuses!
Richard Haas 3
Pacemakers have lithium batteries.
Dennis Fernkes 3
But they aren’t usually checked baggage.
John Taylor 1
They're not down in the cargo hold where no one can get to them in flight in case their chest bursts into flame.
SorenTwin 1
Do the owners check themselves as checked baggage?
bradley newell 1
The comment that air lines would rather fly fright than people is what happened to the U.S. railroad industry.
dmarloweshawca 1
Lith-ion and lithium button cells are 2 distinctly different technologies. Lith-ion batteries be it in laptops, phones, cars or aircraft have been known to overheat or catch fire. These batteries can hold watts to kilowatts of power. Button cells are used in everything from watches, smoke alarms, computers to hold CMOS memory parameters, pacemakers to, are you ready for it, DIGIITAL ALTIMETERS. So very low power applications where longevity verses high power is required. Typically, milliamp to even microamp draw.

Typical fashion is that many people panic when the word lithium is heard. NZ needs to separate and look at the technology. If they ban lithium button cells in the baggage hold then what about the same in the cockpit dash and in the electronics bay? Those are tight, confined spaces. When was the last time a low power lithium button cell in aircraft electronics overheated or caught fire? Or a human with a pacemaker?

The design of devices using button cells is such that it's all but impossible to short them out. If you deliberately short them out their internal resistance combined with low power capacity limits, means that they will get slightly warm before they die. Even a 9V, which has hundreds of times higher capacity, will not catch fire if you short it out.

I hope NZ consults some experts. Until then I will use my trackers on anything that should never get lost or stollen.
John Taylor 1
Honest question, not sarc, do the button cells have the same fire hazard as Li-Ion if submerged in water? As an example; if someone has, say, a bottle of water in their checked bag and it ruptures, flooding their bag and the battery in it, is there a fire risk from a situation like that? And as for the 9V battery, changing atmospheric pressure that quickly could cause a bulging case. Could not the same happen to a button cell as well?
Leander Williams 1
Spirit Dispatch to flight 2332... You are directed to return to land at the field you just departed from. One of your bags is reporting it is supposed to be on the flight to Miami, not the one to Cleveland. The bag intends to file a claim if you don't return it immediately to be routed correctly. Dispatch out.
chugheset 1
There were a lot less lost bags back when you could carry a reasonably sized piece of luggage in the cabin with you. Then came the "one small bag plus a personal item rule" and it all went out the window (into the baggage compartment).
Paul Byrne 1
Delta customers can see their tracked bags on the Delta app
Kevin Sorgi 1
Sorry airlines but I have a right to protect my personal property and to know where it is. If the tiny lithium batteries in these trackers are so dangerous, then why aren't airlines banning all cell phones from being brought onboard an aircraft. What about the lithium batteries already part of modern aircraft backup systems? As many have already said here, the lithium battery hazard seems to be just a smoke screen for the airlines to avoid undisputable evidence that they lost luggage.
John Taylor 1
I don't care about my plane possibly going down in flames because of a lithium fire in the cargo hold. I want my convenience and the rest of you damned.
Highflyer1950 1
Apple will have to incorporate a remote on/off switch on their air tags?
Andrew Jackson 8
It’s easy to turn them off. You just turn one side and it opens up so the battery can be replaced. But if that battery equals danger then my Toyota car key, which also contains a CR2032 and “can’t be turned off” should be bursting my pants on fire too.
John Taylor 1
Are your pants in the cargo hold where no one can get to them if they catch fire?
erisajd -1
The easiest so.union is don’t check bags. My wife and I did two weeks in Scotland this year with a compliant roll aboard and a compliant bavkpack. And judicious use of Airbnb with a clothes washer. You don’t need to take everything you own on vacation.

I did my honeymoon to Hawaii with a backpack and a duffle. What do you wear in Hawaii? T shirts and board shorts and maybe a reyn spooner to a fancy restaurant.
Philip Taylor 2
Oh dear! So sad ☹️ When we went on honeymoon we took our glad rags to wear when out to dinner. Honeymoons are a joyous occasion to be celebrated and dressed up to the nines! Not a ryn spooner (whatever that is!)

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Bob Hallissy 14
Was the ignition source a coin cell battery similar to the ones in trackers?
chugheset 2
gorbush 11
One thing to note is that Lithium button cell batteries are almost completely different that lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in smartphones.
victorbravo77 1
Rechargeable lithium batteries apparently contain less lithium than button cells do.
John Taylor 1
And the lithium is still reactive to water.
conradp99 1
When there's an aviation 'water incident' powerful enough to also rupture a battery back in cargo I suspect it'd be moot....
Roy Hunte 10
Rubbish, I guess you don't travel with a smartphone.
Highflyer1950 9
Yes but Not in the cargo holds, passenger cabins yes but then battery banks, phones, hearing aid batteries…..all allowed in the cabin. Regulations state restricted carriage in cargo holds. Next item will be fireproof luggage?
victorbravo77 1
Or a laptop.
Rick D 1
2 airplanes by the same airline?
dodger4 -1
Wasn't it 218,360 bags missing...? Or perhaps 217,842...? errr helloe...are we expected to swallow these nebulous imaginary numbers without challenge?

So are we left to conclude that ANZ will not lose anybody's bag, even with Star Alliance connections? get real. So they then have must some credible tracing alternative to this extraordinary "problem".

It's my understanding that the baggage tags applied at check-in are readable by a bar-code reader on baggage conveyors and electronically & mechanically directed accordingly. So where lies the problem with all this "lost" baggage? Of course we only hear about the lost baggage and its associated horror stories in the MSM, but not about the BILLIONS of other baggage that was successfully handled.

I recently to a trip to Philippines with 4 connections EACH forward and return, my baggage was (MIRACULOUSLY) on the baggage carousel at each destination.

Oh wow, will wonders never cease.


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