Passenger Leaves Headphones on Plane, AirTag Finds Them at Delta Employee's House

AirTags have become must-have devices worldwide 6 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Apple
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AirTags help track lost or stolen belongings using a new-generation approach, and a recent case from Raleigh teaches everybody two very important lessons.
First, attaching an AirTag to our belongings has become highly recommended, as Apple's device can help recover them in the most awkward turns of events. Second, you should never attempt to get your belongings back on your own, as law enforcement keeps reminding us that tracking criminals and confronting them could be fatal.

A Delta passenger left behind his $100 wireless headphones on the flight that landed at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU).

The man previously fitted an AirTag in the headphones, thinking he might eventually lose them so Apple's device would help track their location. After quickly checking his luggage, he realized the headphones were left on the airplane. The staff did not allow him to get back on the plan, so he had to rely on Delta and RDU officials to search for his gadget.

Mat Krantz went home, keeping an eye on the Find My app on his iPhone to track the headphones' location. AirTags connect to the Find My network to broadcast their location using nearby iPhones. It does not sport built-in Internet access but shares its coordinates with a master device using Apple smartphones in proximity.

Delta and RDU staff used iPhones, as the AirTag updated its location for the rest of the day. The headphones remained within the airport, so Krantz assumed the cleaning staff found them, so they were directed to the lost and found office.

Everything changed the next day when the headphones started moving. He wanted to track its location on his own, but his wife eventually talked him out of this idea for safety reasons. He contacted the police, who surprisingly decided to follow the directions provided by the AirTag and drive directly to the house where the headphones were located.

Police tell local media that they typically required a warrant, but in this case, they knocked directly on the door of the house where the AirTag was allegedly located. Someone answered the door, and after further investigation, the police discovered that the man was an employee affiliated with Delta. He was in possession of the headphones for an undisclosed reason.

Contacted by the cited source, Delta claimed the employee was no longer working for them, though it's unclear if the man was let go after this incident. He still had access to Delta's flights the day before, though.

The RDU police emphasize that AirTag owners should always contact the authorities to recover stolen goods. And they're right, as some people found out the hard way that confronting criminals is not a good idea. Not long ago, the owner of a stolen Honda scooter ended up with a broken nose when he tried to recover his bike using AirTag location information.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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