Delta Air Lines Fires Employee Who Stole Passenger’s Headphones

A Delta Air Lines passenger tracked down the noise cancelling headphones he left on a flight at an employee’s house. The airline says the employee is no longer working for them.

Mat Krantz left the headphones behind when he got off of a flight from Atlanta to Raleigh. He realized right away that they were still on board as soon as he’d exited the jet bridge, but he wasn’t allowed back on board to retrieve them. He filed a report with the airline and airport, and he tracked the headphones with the help of an Apple AirTag which was attached to the headphones’ case.

The man expected the headphones to turn up at lost and found, but the next day they showed at… “a random home in Raleigh.” His wife talked him out of going to the home to confront the headphone thief, and he contacted police instead.

“It moved in the middle of the night, right when I would think a shift worker’s shift would end when the airport closed,” Krantz said. “So, my first thought was, ‘Oh, the cleaning crew probably took it home with them.’”

Police went to the home where the AirTag identified the headphones as located – no warrant, the AirTag’s reporting may be close but not perfect – and they knocked on the door. Hint: if police show up at your door without a warrant, to search for items you’ve stolen, why are you letting them in?

“They knocked on the door and when the person answered, they owned up to the situation and handed back my headphones,” Krantz said.

According to Delta, “the person involved in the incident no longer works for” the airline.

AirTags helped a man watch his wallet travel to 35 cities on American Airlines, showing just how poorly the airline cleans its planes (they didn’t credit the passenger with the miles that his wallet flew). Meanwhile another American Airlines passenger had his luggage stolen at the Miami airport and actually traveled to the thief’s home for a confrontation. Don’t try this at home, children. Meanwhile an Air Canada passenger used AirTags to discover that the airline donated his luggage to charity.

(HT: Paul H)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. It will be interesting to see in a few years the impact on crime that air tags or the like will have. Certainly, thieves will gain the basic intelligence to check bags, electronics etc for an air tag over time. But I imagine the covert look of them will also improve to the point that they are so tiny as to be barely seen.

    It’s so fascinating to witness that a simple small thing like this could have one of the biggest societal impacts in a generation. From a travel perspective it may be the single greatest advancement ever.

  2. Perhaps the most important advance in law enforcement in several generations, that was developed as a for profit project by a private company with private funds completely outside of the massive and expensive government law enforcement apparatus, by people who probably had no training in “law enforcement.” Interesting to think about.

  3. In my view, police having Air Tag report of stolen item at a location is probable cause. Just like stopping a car that is driving erratically.

    If the police interaction occurs at a residence, that will may change things. But police could just get a search warrant, which would almost assuredly be issued. A search of this employee’s home might result in headphones being the least of the thief’s concerns.

  4. I can’t believe the police have time for a pair of headphones with all that’s going on in the world,
    We has a housing challenged fellow out of his mind smashing luxury cars with a crow bar in a parking lot which was reported.When the police dept asked if he had a gun we said no
    They said it’s not a priority and someone may be out to see the situation
    Presently someone has to be shooting to justify immediate action or in serious harms way

  5. Earlier this year I left behind a small bag containing a favorite light jacket on an American Airlines flight in Miami. It had both an Apple Air Tag and a very obvious and sturdy luggage tag (attached with a metal cable) showing my name, phone number, and email address. Clearly my bad as I rushed off the plane without looking down into the gap between my seat and the window. I filed an online lost and found claim with AA and, using the Find My app, tracked my Apple Air Tag for the bag through Miami Aiport where it remained in one spot for several days in an AA terminal. I used the AA lost and found report page to constantly update, with satellite photos, where the bag was but to no avail. Then the tag moved to DFW to an AA terminal and remained there for several days. Again, I kept updating AA as to the location. Then it moved to a loading dock near DFW for several days and, again, I kept sending notices and map updates to AA through their lost and found website for my claim. Finally, the Air Tag appeared at a lost-luggage-for-sale store in rural Alabama according to the map. AA had sold my bag to a lost luggage liquidator, even though my contact information was clearly on the bag. Again, I sent more updates to AA until the tag disappeared altogether online.

    The Apple Air Tag worked great. But AA’s lost and found system is a complete joke and just a charade. There is nobody at the other end of their online “service.” I fly a lot and this was my first flight on AA in many years because I’ve tried to avoid AA due to old experiences, but the route made the most sense for this trip. Yes, this was all my fault for leaving the bag behind and for choosing AA in the first place. I was able to replace the jacket and in many, many years I just might try AA again.

  6. A positive story with Delta…

    We recently traveled from Atlanta to Salt Lake City on Delta Air Lines. A couple of hours after arrival my wife realized that she was missing her purse. Using our Tile tracker, we determined that the purse was outdoors from our arrival gate, possibly still on the airplane parked at the jetway. Luckily it was late at night, and the plane was probably overnighting in SLC.

    Shortly afterwards the Tile app indicated the purse was at a location in the SLC airport that corresponds with Delta’s passenger service office. We returned to the SLC airport, and with the help of Delta employees (and Tile), my wife retrieved her purse with all the contents intact.

    Compliments and thanks to Delta Air Lines. The overwhelming majority of airline employees (and people in general) are honest!

  7. @InLA:
    > Finally, the Air Tag appeared at a lost-luggage-for-sale store in rural Alabama according to the map. AA had sold my bag to a lost luggage liquidator, even though my contact information was clearly on the bag. Again, I sent more updates to AA until the tag disappeared altogether online.

    The airlines should be held to the same standard anyone else is–for a person to do that would be considered theft.

  8. luggage tags? ha ha you need to write your name and phone number with perm marker on your luggage . so what if it looks bad . At lease everyone can see your name and phone number.

    And STOP buying black luggage. We had yellow American Tourister luggage for years and could spot it being loaded and unload every time. Can not miss it coming off the belt. Had to give it up cause there were no wheels. We now have Samsonite blue hard case luggage that we can spot the same way ( in all that black bags) . We did jus pick up a yellow carry on.

    check your seat before you leave

  9. The last time my luggage was lost was on Air France. I filed a claim at the airport, and less than 48 hours later it was delivered to my hotel in Paris. And Air France said I could spend up to 200 euros to replace items needed immediately that were in the bag. Great customer service.

  10. Left a jacket on United. Filed reports, went back to the airport, provided flight & seat number, all to no avail. To bad I didn’t have a air tag in the pocket. United is less than useless.

  11. I’m going on my annual trip with my old college friends next month. I got an extra air tag and a holder with a pin clasp to attach to the one person in our group who always wanders off and we have to go looking for her.

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