Is A Luggage Tag Saying You Use An AirTag As Good As Using AirTags?

Scott asks for “thoughts on these sorts of labels for ‘high-value’ items that need to be checked?” They’re luggage tags that say your bag has an Airtag inside.

For high value items, just write “STEAL FROM THIS BAG” on your tag instead of identifying its contents? As for advertising use of Airtags, two schools of thought.

  1. the value is in being surreptitious, that way thieves don’t know to remove tracking

  2. put the tag on the bag, then you don’t even need the Airtag. It’s like putting up a home alarm and video camera sign to warn off thieves – rather than actually installing a camera and alarm. Not unlike this old (and I assume somewhat apocryphal) Bob Crandall story:

As for the value of Airtags more generally, I suppose on an expected value basis they’re not worth the cost and hassle (lost luggage, especially that isn’t returned reasonably promptly, is reasonably rare) but they do help along some dimension, so if the contents truly would be damaging to lose then it’s worthwhile.

A couple of ago a photographer tracked down his bags, which were taken at baggage claim with the chase ultimately taking him to a Miami home at 1 a.m. It used to be much harder to catch baggage thiefs, usually relying only on their own stupidity to unearth them – like when a TSA screener got caught stealing a CNN camera when he tried to sell it on eBay. He got caught because he forgot to remove some of the CNN stickers before the sale, and argued that TSA culture not only permitted but even encouraged baggage theft.

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. Putting a tag as a deterrent will work in some cases, but if a thief is brazen enough (which many of them are), they’ll likely appreciate the heads up and find the Airtag inside and ditch it before they get very far with the luggage.

  2. Its kind of like writing Fragile on a ups or fed ex shipment they will be sure to crush it into many bit size pieces.It brings attention to what they might otherwise ignore

  3. Advertising an air tag nothing more than showing a lack of common sense. It’s the same as voting for Joe Biden, who would ever vote for a candidate like that guy.

  4. In college long ago I worked after school at the original Barnes and Noble on Fifth avenue and 18th Street in Manhattan. There were cameras in a number of locations, none of which were live or connected to anything except the wall

  5. OK, on Air Tags. They are now essentially worthless as theft deterrent devices thanks to Apple responding to the anguished idiots who ran around like girlies with their hair on fire after an angry girlfriend tracked her beau to a bar where she found him with another woman. Upon his exit she ran him over (several times, I gather). I believe she killed him. I also understand that several other so-called “stalking” incidents contributed to Apple completely emasculating the AirPad. Now, any Apple device will alert its owner to the fact that there is an AirPad nearby. While some thieves are stupid, most aren’t so I’m sure they check for AirPad alerts.
    So, they are basically useless now as a security device.
    I do still put an AirPad in my checked bag but that is more for me to know where it is if goes astray than to deter theft.
    Such tags as @Gary describes, are, IMO, useless.

  6. Anthony the demented one has to get his cheap thrills by bringing President Biden into Air Tag Discussions? Looks like this dude needs to have an electronic ankle monitor on each leg and a vomit bag attached to his neck.

  7. Air tag on checked bag is super useful to just track your bag. You can see if it made it into the flight with you, and while you’re waiting for bags to be returned, it Wiccan alert you when the bag is close (you can tell when your bag is unloaded from the plane and about to be put on the conveyor). I wouldn’t think of it as an anti-theft device, not really designed for that, but it’s worth having if you’re checking a bag.

  8. Anthony: Please leave politics out of discussions that have nothing to do with politics. Please get some medication for YOUR case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    Re: “who would ever vote for a candidate like that guy.”: Over 81 MILLION Americans voted for that guy. Almost 10% more votes than the lying, corrupt, serial sexual assaulter, tax cheating, serial cheating on wives, nasty, juvenile, racist, coward, military service dodging, moron, pathologically narcissistic, fat, POS, Donnie the Douchebag Trump.

    Old joke: “How do you know a lawyer is lying?”, “his lips are moving.”
    New sad and pathetic TRUTH: “How do you a Trump is lying?”, “his or her lips are moving.”

  9. Advertising an AirTag tracker on the bag is also an indication of a person likely having paid a premium to play in the Apple ecosystem and thus perhaps have more valuable items to steal than on average. And if a tracker really is in the bag, the advertising of the tracker will motivate a thief to look for and ditch the tracker or figure out how to interfere with Bluetooth tracking.

  10. I use the Air Tag to track my bag if/when the airlines lose it

    It was super helpful in April when Delta canceled thousands of flights. I had no bag for 3 days.
    But I knew when it got to me in Key West so I could go pick it up
    When they to.d me it wasn’t there… I showed them where it was in the airport.

  11. Also pro tip

    Never put your address on a tag like that

    It alerts criminals that you’re out of town and they can go to your house and rob you.

    Just put your first name and phone number

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