At some point, we have left something on a plane. We probably haven't spent three days watching an item travel around the world, with no one willing to help.

Qantas passenger loses iPhone, tracks it for days

There is a thread on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum that is both entertaining and upsetting. A couple flew from Australia to New Zealand with Qantas and then realized that their phone was left behind. They were able to see that the phone was left on the plane.

You would think the phone would be easy to recover, as they had the plane's registration code and knew what seat the passenger was in. Even though the baggage office and first class lounge phone number were reachable, nobody was willing to help the plane that was on the ground in Sydney.

It flew from Honolulu to Honolulu, then from Honolulu to Honolulu again, then from Honolulu to Honolulu again, then from Honolulu to Honolulu again, then from Honolulu to Honolulu again. When the phone was lost, the owners of the phone tracked it, as the battery must have been full. If the phone had a Qantas Frequent Flyer number, it would have earned elite status.

There are a couple of thoughts.

  • There are always announcements about the risk of a fire if a phone gets stuck inside a seat; since the phone was presumably stuck somewhere in a business class seat, you’d think an effort would be made to find the iPhone from a safety perspective, if nothing else
  • This shows you how both the cleaning between flights as well as security checks don’t really do a whole lot to find objects that may be in the cabin and left behind from another flight
An iPhone went on quite the journey

So, how was the iPhone finally found?

There was a positive update after the plane flew three sectors. When the plane landed in Sydney for the third time, another forum member provided assistance with retrieving the phone from the plane, which is not clear if this was a fellow passenger who happened to be flying on the plane, or a Qantas employee who participates in the forum.

The Qantas employee called the owner of the phone and said they were taking it to international baggage services. The owner of the phone was in New Zealand when he returned to Australia the following week.

The traveler was finally reunited with their iPhone

Bottom line

Losing something on a plane is never fun, and I can't decide if it's worth it if you can't find it. A Qantas business class passenger lost their phone on a flight from Australia to New Zealand, and then the plane operated five more sectors before the phone was recovered.

Have you ever watched a tracked device travel around the world without them?

The tip of the hat to the person.