Isabelle Tham put on her jacket before Delta Air Lines made a roach flight from California to New York in March when one of her AirPods flew out of her ear.
The 23-year-old legal writer from San Jose was desperately looking for the wireless headset around her window seat before the plane took off. She imagined that the tiny white device had slid into the back of the plane, and fell asleep with the plans to look again after the landing.
Tham awoke to a great news: The faulty AirPod had gotten stuck on a seat and was being behind it by the passenger.
Her luck ran out on the return flight. In the rush to catch a connecting flight, Tham left her AirPod bag, which also serves as a charger, in the back pocket. (The AirPods were in their ears.)
She turned to Delta on Twitter as soon as she arrived at her Airbnb and found it was gone, "Delta, please help out a millennial and join them their AirPods case. "
Similar screams and requests go through social media and after-sales service centers on airlines every day as owners of expensive periscope devices desperately search for their return. A new pair of AirPods that includes a protective case costs $ 159 New case for wireless charging, 79 US dollars.
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Passengers publish details of their seat, including photos of holes and tears they fell in. A traveler posted a screenshot from the "Find my iPhone App" showing his AirPods in an airplane flying at Phoenix Airport Sky Harbor International was driving down the runway.
Losing AirPods is a # firstworld problem. Sure, as snarky commentators often notice on Twitter, the lost devices are a costly issue for travelers and can be a logistical challenge for airlines.
AirPods were introduced three years ago and have become ubiquitous after a relatively slow start, and the devices are hugging ears around the world, a strange-looking status symbol. Critics say they look like Q-tips; electric toothbrush heads; and, if so, flossing. The second generation of AirPods was launched in March and went on sale in August.
Ray Wong, chief editor of technology magazine Input, was an early user. The year he came out, he got his sister a pair of AirPods for Christmas and lost them a few months later on a delta flight from New York to Austin, Texas, for the South to Southwest Technology Summit.
He was in the middle seat when a colleague nudged him to look at an e-mail. He held his AirPods in his hand, and one of them disappeared into the seat. He mentioned it to a flight attendant, and when he landed he next tore open the seats to find the tiny earphones. The cleaning crew has even engaged.
"They're like" OK, let's see if we can find your little AirPods, "he said, noting that this had happened before users could find them with My iPhone.
The AirPod did not work out did not show up, so he had to buy a single replacement for $ 70 at Apple in New York.
What are the chances of getting AirPods back from an airline?
For travelers Losing their Airpods Today, helps find my iPhone app, especially if you find that the AirPods get lost while you're still on the plane or at the airport.
But you stay in the plane searching or returning getting on the plane is not always an option when the planes are only short on the ground between flights.
Sometimes an item is stuck and can no longer be found, or the airline is not ready or not in the L age to tear seats apart.  Another risk: Other passengers might discover the items they were looking for and choose Finder, as the AirPods can easily connect to other devices.
Airlines are reluctant to give numbers on the volume of items delivered by type and how many are returned to their owners. Delta announced that it receives about 40 pairs of AirPods per month. Spokesman Morgan Durrant said that this is not one of the top 5 submitted articles. Cell phones, tablets, laptops, other types of headphones and eye / sunglasses can reach hundreds a month, he said.
A sign of the volume of lost AirPods not reunited with passengers: sales of AirPods at Unclaimed The Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama, which buys and sells unclaimed items from airlines to the public, is in grown over the past two years. According to spokeswoman Jamie Scalici, sales have increased 126% year-on-year this year.
The store publishes neither the number of AirPods sold nor the comparison with other electronic devices. The business sells first-generation AirPods for $ 100 and second-generation for $ 159, a telephone representative said. "They go fast."
Airlines say they are doing everything they can to unite travelers with their lost items, and according to Laura Adams, director of luggage services, Southwest Airlines, the country's largest domestic carrier, has lost a 60% response rate gone objects. This includes lost property.
"We are really proud of that because I can tell you that it used to be more than 16% before everything was automated," she told USA TODAY.
] But the AirPods bring their own challenges, she said, including their size (they can easily fall into the nooks and crannies of the plane) and the fact that they all look the same, especially when they're not in their suitcases ,
"That's the frustrating part for us," Adams said. "We can not simply return the AirPods of anybody, we have to return the AirPods of the rightful owner."
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Tham was sure they would get their AirPods Case would see again after she had detailed her flight information on Delta's Fund Form The day of her flight.
"I've just put the place I was in," she said. "But time flies and they say," Hey, we're still looking for your case I'm sorry. & # 39; & 39;
She waited a few weeks, but eventually coughed $ 59 for a replacement case.
Harish Malik He was also confident after sending seat information and photos of American Airlines's flight from his wife of Oklahoma to San Francisco this summer.
The software engineer said the AirPods were a three-month birthday present for his wife. She dropped one and did not want to disturb the older passenger next to her. She said she had told the flight crew she could see it in a hole between the two seats, but she could not help it because the seat had to be taken apart by a technician.
They reported the incident to after-sales service in San Francisco and filed a report on lost items, but they did not show up, he said.
"It means no one went there and looked and no one cared," he said] USA TODAY turned to American Airlines.
Malik's wife has an upcoming flight and refuses to take out the other AirPod.
"She's afraid to use her now," Malik said. "She will only use the wired ones when she needs them."
Even if airlines call in a technician, they can not always help. A woman from Arizona has posted the story of a lost AirPod at United on Twitter. with a picture of a maintenance worker trying to find it after jumping on the ground and into a hole. A chirping sound triggered by the "Find My iPhone" feature told her it was close.
But not close enough. She never made it back to AirPod.
Kim Thomas considered her one of the lucky ones. The hospital's 45-year IT chief reported her lost AirPods to the Southwest Baggage Claim Office at Los Angeles International Airport and was thrilled when she called The Gate to see that they found her.
One problem: The suitcase did not belong to her. And he was empty.
"I never got it back," Thomas said.
She bought a new pair within 24 hours.
"I love that they recharge fast, I love that they have a long battery life, I love that I can use one, and I do not need to use both for semi-multitasking when I'm attending a conference call. "
How To Lose Your AirPods NOT On The Airplane: Lessons From Those Who Have Done  1. Do not bring them or change to wired headphones, at least when you're sleeping swore initially not to travel with them after two incidents, but is now only cautious, for example, he does not put them to sleep on flights. "You never know when there will be turbulence and booms. Your AirPods have disappeared. "
2 Buy accessories, including earhooks or straps, to tie them on a flight, and they're cheap on sites like Amazon and eBay.
3 Put on your routine before you get in and out, put them in the same place every time, Thomas, who leaves on a weekly basis, puts them in her left pocket and is now religious to check them before she leaves.
4. Add some identifying features to the AirPods that will help you identify them when the airline finds them – Adams from the Southwest says their family has a sharpie on their electronics, others stick to contact information on a label, and some recommend Reddit users Name the AirPods with your e-mail address or phone number.