One Airtag Can Save You From This Travel Nightmare

It’s no secret that the aviation industry — although many others — have been disrupted by COVID-19. During the height of the pandemic, lockdowns forced airlines to make layoffs, shrinking the industry’s labor force. When demand came roaring back, few, if any, airlines were ready. That’s how we got here.

In April, a quarter of all flights were delayed. Over 2 percent were cancelled altogether. 220,000 suitcases were lost in transit, a 135 percent jump year-over-year. Since then, things have only gotten worse. In July, Delta, facing an overstock of of-course suitcases, flew a plane filled with 1,000 bags but no passengers from London to Detroit.

Worried yours will be next? That’s fair, even if less than 0.5 percent of all luggage is lost. Even though plenty of airlines offer spaces within their apps to track your bag(s) as you board, land and deplane, it’s still worth of mind to have something (or something) on the inside to double check — and you can.

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Aviation analyst and travel journalist Alex Macheras was able to track down his friends’ bag using a surprising tech accessory: an Apple AirTag. His friend, who’d flown to him from Paris, landed without luggage, but the airline insisted it had been loaded onto the plane. Essentially, she was shit out of luck. Macheras, however, managed to prove the bag was left behind at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport, a Twitter thread of his revealed. The airline overnighted the bag, and she received it the next day.

In this scenario, it wasn’t the attendant in her destination’s fault the bag was falsely reported as having arrived, and they couldn’t offer much assistance even if she insisted the bag never dropped onto a baggage claim belt. Maybe another passenger took it by mistake. Or, perhaps it’s still circling a different station. Both are plausible scenarios, and if you don’t have an AirTag in your bag you’d never know the truth. You’d file a claim, fetch yourself a cab and wait for the airline to recoup your property.


The Find My app will know whether the bag is at home, hiding somewhere in the airport or at a different one altogether.

Evan Malachosky

To avoid this fate, order yourself an Apple AirTag ($29) and a case with some sort of chain. Next, find something within your suitcase to attach it to. Don’t just throw it in or put it in the pocket of pants you packed. If your bag is randomly selected for a deeper security search, you run the risk of it falling out if the bag is emptied entirely or accidentally spilled. By latching it onto a handle or hook, you know it’ll stay in there even if TSA rummages through it before it’s loaded onto the plane.

In the Find My app, you can name the AirTag as you so please: you could call it “Noel’s Luggage,” like my girlfriend Noel did, or something clever like “The Briefcase.” Your call, but the app will know when it’s at home with you, toppled over on the tarmac or shipped off to some faraway airport you never planned on stepping foot in — even when your airline your airline doesn’t.

Never Lose Your Luggage Again

Native Union Curve AirTag Case in Black at Nordstrom

Native Union Classic Leather AirTag Case

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