Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


Airline backtracks on AirTag ban in checked luggage

Tracking your checked luggage with an AirTag is OK, says Lufthansa.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer
Image: Jason Hiner/ZDNET

German carrier Lufthansa has backtracked on a ban it imposed on activated Apple AirTags and other Bluetooth trackers in checked-in luggage due to apparent safety risks.   

After rumors circulated last week about Lufthansa's ban on AirTags, the airline confirmed in a tweet it was "banning activated AirTags from luggage as they are classified as dangerous and need to be turned off". 

AirTags can't be turned off with a switch. The only way to do it is by removing the battery, which defeats the purpose of AirTags and similar low-power bluetooth trackers used for tracking items. 

Also: They both used Apple AirTags to track their possessions. Only one turned out well

Luggage trackers can be an embarrassment for airlines since passengers can use them to discover their luggage is not on their flight before the plane takes off. 

Defending its stance, the airline later tweeted that the ban on AirTags was consistent with guidelines from International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) about the "transmission function" of Bluetooth trackers. 

"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," a Lufthansa representative wrote

However, Lufthansa's ban and its reasoning for doing so were off mark on several counts. 

According to The New York Times, even the ICAO said it is not a regulator and "does not play an oversight role" over the airlines. It just provides guidelines on what passengers may and may not do, while regulators and airlines set policies. 

Apple for its part has said AirTags are "compliant with international airline travel safety regulations for carry-on and checked baggage."

Apple pointed out that ICAO doesn't have standards for luggage-tracking devices, and rather focused its definitions on larger devices – like phones and laptops – that have larger lithium batteries. The US Transportation Security Administration also said that "tracking devices are allowed in both carry-on and checked bags."

On Wednesday, Lufthansa's media team finally confirmed in another Twitter statement that it was no longer banning AirTags after checking with the German Aviation Authority.   

"The German Aviation Authorities (Luftfahrtbundesamt) confirmed today, that they share our risk assessment, that tracking devices with very low battery and transmission power in checked luggage do not pose a safety risk. With that these devices are allowed on Lufthansa flights."

Editorial standards