Two years ago, Apple released AirTag – a small device that can help find lost things using the Find My network. AirPods have a similar functionality, thanks to which one of the passengers of the plane was able to track and return the stolen accessory.

Alisabeth Hayden lost her AirPods after a flight from Tokyo to San Francisco. After landing at San Francisco International Airport, she realized she had forgotten her leather jacket on her seat. “I realized before I was even off the plane,” she told the reporter. The flight attendant refused to let her go back to her seat to get the jacket back.
Instead, the person said he would bring the jacket for her. The flight attendant did indeed bring the jacket back, but Hayden only realized that her AirPods were not there after boarding another flight to Seattle. “The pockets were open, and my AirPods were gone,” the woman said.

Hayden used the Find My app to track the earbuds. They first stayed at the San Francisco airport, then moved to the United Cargo department, and a few hours later they could be seen at a private home in San Mateo.

The woman contacted United Cargo and San Francisco Airport to report the incident, but to no avail. She then contacted the police and received help from a detective working in the San Mateo precinct. Together, they tracked down the address of the house where the AirPods were. It turned out that an airport employee who loads food onto planes lives there.

The suspect was interviewed. At first, he denied that the AirPods were in his possession. But after being shown screenshots showing the location of the AirPods, the suspect said the earbuds were given to him by a cleaner at the airport. That person, in turn, denied any information about the situation.

About two weeks after the incident, Hayden received her AirPods, but they were in poor condition. After several complaints, United Cargo refunded the $271.91 purchase of the new gadget and added 5,000 bonus miles as an apology for the situation.