Man Uses AirTag, Watches His Wallet Travel To 35 Cities On American Airlines

Man Uses AirTag, Watches His Wallet Travel To 35 Cities On American Airlines

An American Airlines passenger landed in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, accidentally leaving their wallet behind on the flight. He reported the wallet missing.

The man had an AirTag on his wallet, and showed him that it was still on the plane. And, he says, he watched the wallet travel to 35 cities.

He had three reactions:

  • He should have gotten better lost and found service as an AAdvantage Platinum member.
  • Clearly the airline isn’t thoroughly cleaning their aircraft if they hadn’t discovered the wallet.
  • He should be credited for the miles that his wallet flew!

Of course American Airlines no longer credits miles based on distance flown. Unless his wallet was on a paid ticket for each segment, they don’t award any miles. Lost and found is a real failure, and probably because there’s little incentive for anyone to try very hard to find something, to go out of their way to turn it in, and for people in lost and found to expend great effort to re-connect passengers with belongings. That’s hardly an American Airlines issue. It’s industry-wide.

Coming out of the pandemic most people internalize ‘planes are supposed to be cleaned’ but the truth is that they may be sprayed with an antimicrobial, but that’s different than getting a deep cleaning between flights or even overnight. There’s very little actual cleaning done between flights. Planes aren’t on the ground long enough. And when a flight is delayed, even basic trash pickup from seats is one thing that they cut down on to try to gain back time.

There’s generally more cleaning after a long haul international flight, at an airline’s hub, than there is after a domestic flight. It’s not surprising to see a plane go several days without a wallet being found on board, although it seems inexcusable to me not to do deep cleans overnight.

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