Frequent air traveller Kelly Laing was flying from Toronto to Saint John, N.B., late last month on a flight she takes often between the two cities, but this time her checked luggage went missing.
“It’s an hour and a half flight. I was there early, ready to go. I checked my one bag of luggage for that flight, got on the airline. It was again a little delayed. I landed in Saint John, got off right away, went to the baggage pick-up and my luggage wasn’t there,” said Laing, who noted she was not the only one whose bag had not arrived.
“There was about between 30 to 50 of us who didn’t have their luggage … the Memorial Cup was happening in Saint John, which is a huge hockey tournament here in Canada and I know a lot of individuals on that flight were coming in for the game and even their luggage was lost,” she added.
Fortunately for Laing, she had thought ahead and placed an Apple AirTag in her suitcase.
“First thing I did was flip open my phone, look for my AirTag to find my luggage, and I could see that its location was saying Toronto Pearson,” she said.
Laing is an avid golfer who travels often for the sport and has taken to placing Apple AirTags in her golf bags so she can track the items.
“Golf equipment is quite expensive … Those items do tend to go missing or get lost. They’re just irregular items,” she said.
On this particular trip from Toronto to Saint John, Laing decided to pop an AirTag in her suitcase for “peace of mind.”
“I thought I would put it in my own luggage because of all the delays and cancellations with Canadian domestic flights as of recently and I’m really glad that I did that,” she explained.
Laing made a series of videos and posted them on TikTok as she described the nearly one-week journey of her checked baggage originating in Toronto.
“So this is an Apple AirTag, I have it in this little holder with this little clip that keeps it secure, it also is personalized with my initial. You can see here it says Apple AirTag and it’s awesome and I basically wouldn’t travel without one,” said Laing in one of several TikTok videos.
An Apple AirTag costs around $40 and tech expert Kris Abel explained how exactly they work.
“It’s emitting every now and then a wireless signal — a little tiny beacon, as Apple calls it — just to let any iPhone or smartphone nearby know that it’s near and ideally, your phone is constantly listening just to let you know that this thing is okay,” he said.
Abel said AirTags can be especially worthwhile so users feel at ease knowing their belongings are safe.
“This is one of the big sources of anxiety is, ‘Oh, do I have all my stuff? Do I have my passport?’ You know, those kinds of things. So it’s always kind of that reassurance of, ‘Oh, good, yes, I do have it’,” he said.
AirTags do not need to be charged, said Abel, as they operate with a battery which can last for around a year.
“It’s going to let you know when that battery goes down low and you have to replace it. But a year is a very long time for something that’s sending out a signal. Of course, it’s not using that signal all the time like your phone does, but a year is a really good long time and that’s kind of reassuring,” he added.
When Laing landed in Saint John and discovered her luggage was missing, she said airport officials were unable to offer any explanation. Laing also said she tried contacting Air Canada but was met with a two-hour wait on hold.
“No notifications from Air Canada, no emails updating us on our luggage. The only thing I had was that tracker and if I didn’t have it, I would probably be worrying a lot more,” she said.
For five days, Laing said she tracked her luggage on her iPhone, thanks to the AirTag.
“On the app on Find My Device, you can see exactly where your luggage is, where that AirTag is. So I was watching it for five days. Pearson day one: not moving; day two: not moving; day three: not moving … luckily enough, day five I saw it had gotten to Moncton and then it made its way to Saint John,” she said.
Laing then drove to the airport, presented her ID to airport officials and collected her luggage.
“I was just lucky that I had a tracker in there,” said Laing.
Global News reached out to Air Canada for a comment on this story but did not receive a response.