This quarter-sized device makes tracking your luggage while traveling (at least a little) less stressful.
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I am firmly on Bag saved by the team. I like not worrying about finding space in the top bin or bringing my suitcase in dodgy bath cabins. It’s also a free perk on many of my travel credit cardsSo why not enjoy it ?
That being said, I’m also serially unlucky when it comes to getting my bag to make it to the baggage carousel. Already this year my bag has been misplaced or forgotten on four flights (one of which was a bank holiday weekend in Europe, so it took three days before it was located and returned to me).
Considering that the 4th of July weekend was should be a hell of a mess and I would fly from Colorado to Alaska on an airline that had recently canceled a series of flights and is in the midst of a possible strike, I decided it was worth testing out the Apple AirTag to track my luggage, if only for peace of mind.
Apple AirTag Reviews for Travelers
How it works
Apple’s AirTag is a Bluetooth tracking device intended to help the user locate easily lost items, such as keys, wallets or bags. The quarter-sized disc-shaped tracker can be stowed in a pocket or attached with the purchase of an optional keychain and is tracked through Apple’s Find My network (just like the iPhone , Apple Watch and AirPods). It can also play a tone and has Precision research (an on-screen feature that uses directional arrows and the distance between the phone and the AirTag) for easier location.
On my first test of the AirTag, I flew from Denver, Colorado to Ketchikan, Alaska with a stopover in Seattle, Washington.
Advice to the wise: make sure your phone has the latest software update before trying to sync your AirTag. Since picking up my AirTag at a Target en route to the airport (and cutting it off near baggage drop time), I’ve spent a few tense minutes waiting for the tag to finish. to be able to synchronize the device. However, setting up the AirTag was quite simple. My iPhone immediately recognized that there was an unpaired device nearby and gave a few quick on-screen prompts to complete the process.
When the airline employee handed me the checked bag tag she said I would see it again in Alaska, but with the AirTag I could see where my suitcase was more or less in real time in Find My app.
Since the AirTag operates on the Find My network, its location is identified by its proximity to other Apple devices (using end-to-end encryption, so no one else knows the location or the identity of your AirTag). The more densely populated an area, the faster and more reliable updates are. At the busy Denver and Seattle airports, my bag’s location was updated about every minute or two. Because it was never far from another Apple device, I saw it make its way through multiple terminals before being loaded onto a truck and driven around the perimeter of the airport. And just as I boarded the plane for the first leg of my journey, so did he. Even in the air (and in airplane mode), I could see my suitcase hovering over the West Coast and the Alaska Panhandle.
However, at the tiny airport in Ketchikan (we’re talking less than five gates), my bag’s location wasn’t updated from the time we landed until it was spat on the treadmill – there were simply no other Apple products nearby to ping.
Because I had been to Alaska for a fishing trip, I was bringing home about 50 pounds of frozen seafood. Since the fish was extremely perishable, I was very worried it would fly. So I attached the AirTag to the cooler for the trip home. Being able to check (and double check and triple) that he was not forgotten on the hot tarmac made it easier for me to rest. I could also see it providing additional relief to pet parents checking a larger pet in their luggage.
There are, however, a few drawbacks. First of all, it is only possible to use it with Apple products (sorry, Android users). It also doesn’t have a built-in key fob hole., so you’ll either have to put it in the bag or buy a stand separately. That being said, I would still put the device in the bag – it would be too easy for someone to remove it or for a treadmill to suck it up.
At the end of the line
Of course, American, United, and Delta all have baggage tracking apps, they’re not updated in real time like the AirTag, and there’s room for human error. For a little extra peace of mind, an AirTag is worth it – it’s pretty accurate and reliable. I’ve already added it to my master packing list, so it’s sure to come on any future trips. I’m even a little excited to see how it behaves when my bag is inevitably lost.
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