- A man flying to Ireland watched his golf clubs get left off his flight thanks to an AirTag.
- Despite notifying airlines, he said it was a taxing experience trying to get them back.
- He told Insider airlines need to adapt to the reality that everyone can track their luggage now.
A man who traveled from Oklahoma to Ireland to golf with his friends said he spent his vacation without his clubs after his gear — equipped with an AirTag — sat at an airport across the ocean the entire time.
Terry Argue, a Tulsa resident, told Insider that before traveling for his “bucket list” vacation at the end of June, he added an Apple AirTag to his golf bag for the first time as an experiment. It wound up helping him discover that his clubs were not flying alongside him as he boarded a connecting flight from Toronto to Dublin.
Argue said he asked a flight attendant if they could help him somehow, but he was told that the situation was out of their hands. Instead, he was told he had to wait until he landed in Dublin to begin following up with the airlines and was assured that they could send his luggage over during the next flight.
“I got to Dublin and, sure enough, it did not show up,” Argue told Insider.
Argue said he filled out a form and was told he would receive updates about the status of his golf bag. But nine days went by with no updates from the airlines. He told Insider he made daily calls to Air Canada, United Airlines, and Toronto Pearson International Airport during the nine-day wait.
He spent his vacation with replacement golfing gear, which he said cost him “a couple thousand.”
“That’s probably the most painful thing of the whole trip was having to play all these fantastic courses that you’ve been looking forward to and planning and not having your own clubs,” Argue said. “That’s probably the worst part.”
The golf bag finally left Toronto — just as he returned to the airport
Argue said his clubs and gear sat at the Toronto airport until he flew home at the beginning of July. Then, when boarding a connecting flight from Toronto to Chicago, he said the AirTag showed his bag finally moving. Except now, it was being loaded into a plane two gates over from him on its way to Dublin. Argue said staff told him again there was nothing they could do about it.
Immediately after making its way to Dublin, Argue said a “helpful” worker sent his golf bag back to Toronto Pearson. After arriving in Canada, it sat idle for another five days.
Argue said he believes he got his bag back because of a United manager in Tulsa who eventually reached out and demanded that United staff in Canada send it over.
“As it was told to me, he got very belligerent or irate with his counterpart in Toronto and basically said, ‘How difficult is it to go and pick up that bag and put it on an airplane? There’s a picture of it that shows you exactly where it is. Just go do it so we can get this bag back to this gentleman and put this case to rest.'”
Finally, Argue picked his bag up from Tulsa International Airport. He said he’s now waiting for a response on a claim he filed on July 2 for expenses incurred while golfing in Ireland without his gear.
“Anybody can misplace a bag, and I certainly don’t fault anybody for that,” Argue said. “But the problem was really the lack of effort or the ‘customer no service’ that was provided for a very simple solution. And I think the airlines haven’t adapted to the fact that people are doing things like this to track their bags.”
The popularity of using AirTags to track luggage has increased in recent years as airlines deal with more travelers and staffing shortages, Insider previously reported. In January, Insider reported that Google searches of “Apple air tags for luggage” had grown by more than 5,000% over the past year.
Insider has reported multiple instances where travelers have been able to use their AirTags to recover their belongings: A woman tracked her daughter’s lacrosse gear, a man watched his wallet travel to over 35 cities on an American Airlines plane, and a boy who lost his $12,000 bike was able to retrieve it.
The use of AirTags by passengers has been controversial for some airlines. In 2022, German airline Lufthansa reportedly told passengers to turn off their AirTags, citing concerns that the technology was “dangerous” on a plane. The company later lifted the ban, and the Federal Aviation Administration cleared AirTags as safe to be used on flights immediately after.
United Airlines, Air Canada, and Toronto Pearson International Airport did not immediately respond to questions sent by Insider. Dublin Airport redirected Insider to the airlines.