Woman who lost AirPods on plane tracks them back to airport worker’s home
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Featured Image Credit: Alisabeth Hayden
A woman recently got the shock of her life when she lost her AirPods on a flight, only to discover them at an airport worker's home when she tracked them.
Hayden was returning from a trip to Tokyo, Japan, where she had visited her military husband and realised that she had left her denim jacket on her seat whilst leaving the plane.
She told CNN: “I realized before I was even off the plane. I was the third from last off the plane, so I asked the flight attendant if I could go and get it.
"He said no – I was required by federal law to get off the plane and stand beside it, where the strollers are brought to. I was tired, he said he’d bring it to me, I said OK.”
She was eventually reunited with her jacket and went to embark on the next part of the journey to Seattle.
“A child was screaming next to me and I thought, ‘At least I have my AirPods',” Hayden explained.
However, when she went to reach for the AirPods she had left in her buttoned up jacket pocket, she noticed that the button was undone and her AirPods were gone.
By this point, the plane had already departed and was on its way to Seattle, so Hayden used the inflight Wi-Fi to track the device with the 'Find My' app on her iPhone.
The app flagged that her AirPods were still at San Francisco Airport but, on closer inspection, she noticed that they were moving.
“I’m a diligent person, and I tracked the whole way from San Francisco to Seattle, taking screenshots the entire time. I live an hour from Seattle, and once I got home, I was still taking screenshots,” she added.
She tracked the AirPods as they journeyed their way around the airport, going from cargo to Terminal 2, then Terminal 3 before ending up on the highway headed for San Mateo. The AirPods then stayed put at a residential address in the Bay Area for three days.
She reached out to as many United and SFO employees as she could, including SFO's airport police but received the same disappointing email in response each time.
“I hit every avenue I could find, and used every possible form of communication, and got the same response: ‘I’m sorry that happened to you,’” she said.
She marked the AirPods as 'lost' on the app in the hopes that anyone who tried to use them would hear a message saying that they belonged to her and a contact number which they could reach her on.
Eventually, a detective from San Mateo Police Force managed to match the address to a contractor whose job was to load food onto the aircraft.
“For the next few days, I was watching my AirPods at this man’s house. They should have died, because I hadn’t charged them before my trip, but I kept getting a notification on that they had been ‘seen’ [by the app] – which meant someone had connected their iPhone to the AirPods,” Hayden explained.
The contractor denied having the AirPods when questioned by authorities but, after 12 days of chasing, Hayden received her AirPods back - though they looked quite dishevelled.
“They look like they’ve been stomped on,” she says. “They were wrapped in a toilet paper-sized piece of bubble wrap, why bother?”
She brought up the poor condition with United and, after leaving feedback through their website and CNN contacting the airline about the issue, Hayden was told she would receive $271.91 in 'expenses' plus 5,000 air miles as an apology.
UNILAD has contacted United Airlines for further comment.