Joe McClain - May 18, 2023
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In the future, airline passengers will be formally allowed to use location trackers such as Apple's AirTags or Samsung's SmartTags to locate their checked baggage.

AirTags from Apple, SmartTags from Samsung, and similar devices utilize Bluetooth technology to connect with nearby smartphones compatible with the system. The GPS location of the smartphone is then used to pinpoint the location of the small mobile tracker.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has issued a new rule allowing GPS trackers to be carried in aircraft cargo holds.

Until now, there were no specific guidelines for trackers in checked luggage. Therefore, various airlines had varying instructions for their passengers regarding whether or not they could use trackers in their suitcases. As a result, many airlines have assessed and banned mini-transmitters in checked baggage as a security risk.

Tracker batteries must meet the criteria

The latest ICAO regulations state that trackers are permitted if their batteries contain less than 0.3 grams of lithium and their output does not exceed 2.7-watt hours (Wh). Additionally, it is essential to ensure that devices are safeguarded against potential damage. All these criteria apply to common batteries, such as CR2032 button cells, used in AirTags or comparable trackers.

When it comes to larger lithium batteries, strict safety regulations still apply. If they are damaged or subjected to certain conditions, they can overheat, potentially leading to fires. Traveling with these batteries in checked baggage is possible as long as they contain no more than two grams of lithium and are completely turned off. They should also not be sleeping or resting. For safety reasons, larger lithium batteries would need to be carried in hand luggage.

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