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Obscure rule sees $219 item inside passenger's suitcase binned

An obscure baggage rule could cost you up to $219 if you're not careful while travelling in New Zealand.

One passenger found out the hard way after they discovered a notice on their checked-in baggage informing them their Apple Airpods charging case had been removed and "disposed of".

"Flew Wellington to Tauranga today and my AirPod case was classed ‘not suitable for air carriage’. I’ve been flying loads within the country and this has never happened before?" the person explained on Reddit.

They shared a photo of the notice which said the Airpod charging case had been removed from the bag and disposed of by the airport following an X-ray baggage check by New Zealand's Aviation Security Service (AvSec).

The passenger was informed his Airpod case was disposed of. Source: Reddit/ UnderTheOcean1
The passenger was informed his Airpod case was disposed of. Source: Reddit/ UnderTheOcean1

Some people online expressed they were well aware of the rule and there is adequate signage at airports warning about prohibited items. However others argued there is confusion over what can and can't go in checked-in bags, and were surprised Airpod cases were prohibited.

While annoyed, the Airpods owner said it was their own fault and was an "expensive lesson learnt". Airpods, which are wireless headphones, start from $219 on the Apple website. A replacement wireless charging case is sold by Apple for $129.

Why are Airpods banned from checked-in baggage?

The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand states Airpod cases, which contain lithium batteries, are classified as power banks and can only be taken in carry-on baggage.

Airpods are not allowed in checked-in baggage in New Zealand and can only be placed in carry-on baggage. Source: Getty, file.
Airpods are not allowed in checked-in baggage in New Zealand and can only be placed in carry-on baggage. Source: Getty, file.

"Some types of batteries present a risk of them exploding and catching fire. Power banks present a significant risk, particularly when they are used to recharge other devices," it states. "They must not go in check-in luggage under any circumstances."

AvSec said in November Airpods are among the most common items removed. There were more than 130,000 items removed from passenger's luggage in 2022 that didn't meet the conditions of carriage.

Australians will be pleased to know the rules aren't as strict on the other side of the Tasman Sea and Airpod cases can be placed in checked in baggage.

"If checked in, the device must be switched off and not able to be inadvertently activated or switched on," the Civil Aviation Safety Authority told Yahoo News Australia.

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