iPhone Goes On Solo Qantas Mileage Run

iPhone Goes On Solo Qantas Mileage Run

22

Many of us have left something on a plane at some point. However, we probably haven’t then spent three days watching said item travel around the world, with no one seemingly willing to help.

Qantas passenger loses iPhone, tracks it for days

There’s a thread on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum that’s both entertaining and kind of dismaying. Long story short, a couple flew from Sydney to Auckland with Qantas, and then they realized that their iPhone was left behind. Thanks to the “Find My iPhone” feature, they could see that the phone was left behind on the plane.

You’d think the phone would be easy enough to recover, as they had the plane’s registration code (VH-QPA) and they knew what seat the passenger was in (3E, in business class). But despite reaching out to Qantas (including the baggage office and even the first class lounge phone number), nobody was seemingly willing to help, even while the plane was on the ground in Sydney.

So the iPhone flew from Sydney to Auckland to Sydney, then it flew from Sydney to Honolulu to Sydney, then it flew from Sydney to Auckland to Sydney again. All along, the iPhone’s owners were tracking it, as I guess the battery must have been pretty full when the phone was lost. At this point the phone would have racked up elite status if it had a Qantas Frequent Flyer number. 😉

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?

After the plane flew three roundtrip international sectors, there was finally a positive update. When the plane landed in Sydney for the third time, another forum member somehow provided assistance with retrieving the phone from the plane (it’s 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 iPhone owner received a call from a Qantas employee, who said that they had the phone and were taking it to international baggage services. The iPhone owner was in Auckland at this point, but was able to grab the phone when returning to Sydney 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 sucks more or less if you can track the lost item traveling around the world, all without anyone willing to help. One Qantas business class passenger lost their iPhone on a Sydney to Auckland flight, and then the plane operated five more sectors before the phone was finally recovered.

Have any OMAAT readers watched a tracked device travel around the world without them?

(Tip of the hat to @bne99)

Conversations (22)
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  1. Drank Sinatra Guest

    A few years back, I left my iPad in the seat back pocket on a flight from STR-AMS because I ended up talking to my seatmate who was an older lady who was very concerned about the long delay we were having. I didn’t realise I’d left it until I was on my connecting flight to IAD and was unpacking my bag for the flight.

    Luckily my iPad had cellular, so I opened Find...

    A few years back, I left my iPad in the seat back pocket on a flight from STR-AMS because I ended up talking to my seatmate who was an older lady who was very concerned about the long delay we were having. I didn’t realise I’d left it until I was on my connecting flight to IAD and was unpacking my bag for the flight.

    Luckily my iPad had cellular, so I opened Find My and noted it was still on the plane, which was still at AMS. I talked to the purser, and they said they would call to see if someone could retrieve it but couldn’t make any promises. I was seated right by the centre door, and as the last passengers were getting on, a gentleman in a high vis vest jogged on with what appeared to be my iPad in his hand. I was absolutely amazed they made it as the flight was already boarding when I got there.

  2. John Guest

    Australian readers know this abysmal customer 'service' is typical of Qantas under the rule of Alan Joyce. His focus is 90% on shareholder returns. Keeping shareholders is a good thing, but when you let your product and service go down while jacking up your fares year-on-year, it becomes self-defeating as your customers flee to Singapore Airlines for long hauls to Europe. This prolonged saga of the travelling iphone would not have happened if James Strong...

    Australian readers know this abysmal customer 'service' is typical of Qantas under the rule of Alan Joyce. His focus is 90% on shareholder returns. Keeping shareholders is a good thing, but when you let your product and service go down while jacking up your fares year-on-year, it becomes self-defeating as your customers flee to Singapore Airlines for long hauls to Europe. This prolonged saga of the travelling iphone would not have happened if James Strong were alive and in charge of Qantas.

  3. JD Guest

    Flew MEX-FRA first class (747) a couple of years ago. When I woke up I could not find my iPhone anywhere. After a perfect in flight, it was like an out of body experience… I couldn’t find it, the flight attendants couldn’t find it and the other poor passengers in first class were like “get over it”. I was so embarrassed but once everyone deplaned, mechanics came on board and finally was able to find...

    Flew MEX-FRA first class (747) a couple of years ago. When I woke up I could not find my iPhone anywhere. After a perfect in flight, it was like an out of body experience… I couldn’t find it, the flight attendants couldn’t find it and the other poor passengers in first class were like “get over it”. I was so embarrassed but once everyone deplaned, mechanics came on board and finally was able to find it… we almost missed our connecting flight but was elated to have my iPhone back for our month long vacation in Europe.

  4. Brianair Guest

    They’re lucky it was on an A330-300. I think the furthest they fly that plane type is to like Honolulu or Sapporo, taking like 9-10 hours, which is definitely medium-haul for Qantas. The fact that it did go to Honolulu would be scary enough for the phone and its data if something goes wrong. Imagine if they left it on one of their 787-9s, which flies a bunch of their domestic and shorter-haul routes too,...

    They’re lucky it was on an A330-300. I think the furthest they fly that plane type is to like Honolulu or Sapporo, taking like 9-10 hours, which is definitely medium-haul for Qantas. The fact that it did go to Honolulu would be scary enough for the phone and its data if something goes wrong. Imagine if they left it on one of their 787-9s, which flies a bunch of their domestic and shorter-haul routes too, and it went on Perth to London, Sydney to Dallas-Fort Worth, or any of their long hauls to the continental US.

  5. Chris Guest

    Not a plane story, but a friend left his phone in an ATL taxi. When the Find My Phone finally pinged just 24 hours later, it was in Ethiopia!

  6. AliW Guest

    I left my Mac Air on a United flight from SFO to SIN in late 2019. When I attempted to retrieve it (w the help of United crew), the cleaning crew had already taken it off. I was never able to get my laptop back and believe me, I tried. United uses a 3rd party company. It was never recovered.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Back in 2019 you can already use Find My MacBook Air. iCloud is stalking you everywhere.

  7. gstork Guest

    You mentioned electronics falling into seats being a potential safety hazard.

    Several years ago on a CPT-DXB flight in EK business, my wedding band slipped off my finger and into the seat. I could not for the life of me get it out. I had two extremely kind crew members on their hands & knees, and even on the floor on their sides, trying every which way they could to retrieve it. Still no luck....

    You mentioned electronics falling into seats being a potential safety hazard.

    Several years ago on a CPT-DXB flight in EK business, my wedding band slipped off my finger and into the seat. I could not for the life of me get it out. I had two extremely kind crew members on their hands & knees, and even on the floor on their sides, trying every which way they could to retrieve it. Still no luck. They radio'ed ahead, and a maintenance crew was waiting on the jet bridge to assist. When they disassembled part of seat, I found not just my wedding band, but a very nice looking watch, a cocktail ring, and a few other items. Makes you wonder what kind of haul the maintenance crew find when they do deep cleanings during aircraft maintenance!

  8. Donna Diamond

    No, but I have found two phones over the years, an iPhone in a seat back on an early morning flight out of SAN which was left the night before and I turned it in before departure. The second, found in a business class storage cubby in mid flight, turned over to the FA who said it happens frequently.

  9. Eskimo Guest

    With the tracking abilities of utilizing Apple products, It's time airline should be more accountable for tracking and retrieving lost items. I've read so many stories of owners tracking their lost device / bag to a precise location but no employee cared to retrieve them.

    Airtags is a stalkers dream come true all the way up to global mass surveillance systems.

  10. sxc7885 Member

    Had my first experience with actually using find my a few weeks ago left my iPad in seat back pocket on a super later flight and contacted airport via twitter gave them the info and essentially used find my to see if it was found and stayed at airport or was traveling the country made getting it back so much easier than I thought it would be

  11. DuaneU2 Member

    We had in iPhone left on a KLM 747 upon arrival in Amsterdam that travelled around the world for several days before being found. Also once left a phone on a Shinkansen train in Japan that we got back eventually. The only one we got back right away was on a Pegasus flight in Turkey. A kind crew member actually went back and found it for us.

  12. Nico Z Guest

    TSA BOS stole my Tile tracker from checked luggage years ago. I would periodically look up it’s location: just behind the check in counter, sitting in some bucket full of stolen property. Now that apple is in the game with airtags I’m sure trackers are being left alone.

  13. Mike O. Guest

    Make sure you have your valuables in plain sight. Your phone, wallet, etc. are in your pocket right before landing, and right before you disembark, check all nooks and crannies of your seat in case you forgot anything such as storage and overhead lockers, magazine pockets, etc.

  14. glenn t Diamond

    Sadly, Qantas Customer Care is a pale shadow of what it used to be. You get the occassional good agent sometimes, but it's pretty hit or miss.
    Their Call Centre(s) are poorly trained and not very helpful. That's if you can get any to even answer. The part of their recorded on-hold message saying "your time is valuable....." has been deleted, which speaks volumes.

  15. Peter Guest

    September 2021
    On the flight DOH-FRA with QR I forgot my wallet with 500€ cash and all credit cards in BC class. Have noticed it only after passport control. The QR agent at the check in counter could not / would not care. After 2 hours I got the info that the wallet was found and will be handed over to me soon. Of course, all the cash was gone. Who has probably enriched...

    September 2021
    On the flight DOH-FRA with QR I forgot my wallet with 500€ cash and all credit cards in BC class. Have noticed it only after passport control. The QR agent at the check in counter could not / would not care. After 2 hours I got the info that the wallet was found and will be handed over to me soon. Of course, all the cash was gone. Who has probably enriched himself there? Of course, no one knows and there are no video recordings. Fortunately, all credit cards were still there and no attempt was made to use them. Still, very poor service for QR

  16. Nick Guest

    @Erica T. I consistently hear check before leaving the plane as you will not be allowed to come back on the plane. That said, not sure why you being inside the airports secured area had anything to do with you getting access to the plane.

    1. Eve Guest

      Well @nick the gate agents do have the responsibility to instruct the cleaning crew or themselves to enter the plane and search the missing item since pax are not allowed to enter after deplanning. But it is beyond procedure to refuse to search the phone, unless they have an different motive of their own

  17. Alexandra H. Guest

    I forgot my MacBook in the seat pocket in front of me on a red eye on AirCanada from Vancouver to Montréal. I realized it when I was home. I filled out a form on their website and a couple of hours later got a reply that I could pick it up at YUL baggage claim 48 hours later. I did not expect this would go so smoothly.

  18. Erica T Member

    They are very lucky. One time I realized I left my phone in the seat pocket of a British airways flight. Even though I realized before I left the secured area and went back to the gate they refused to go on the plane and get it. The attitude was that I had to just accept the consequences of my terrible mistake. No one ever answered any of my inquiries about it and I never got the phone back.

    1. Eve Guest

      A similar thing happened to me on United on a LAX - EWR leg but with an opposite outcome. I left my second phone at 7A which is in the business class, inside a cubby space, I didn’t realise it but it seems the cleaning crew found it and the gate agent called my phone number which frankly was on my primary phone in booking, and that too just before leaving the airport and I...

      A similar thing happened to me on United on a LAX - EWR leg but with an opposite outcome. I left my second phone at 7A which is in the business class, inside a cubby space, I didn’t realise it but it seems the cleaning crew found it and the gate agent called my phone number which frankly was on my primary phone in booking, and that too just before leaving the airport and I got it handed over to me on a nick of time after describing the phone and it’s wallpaper.

      Though an opposite thing happened on Etihad in AUH, I left a shopping bag in the lounge and even though they found it, they asked me $200 to send through courier and when I offered to pick it up from airport on my return leg a month away, they gave me a ridiculous excuse that if I didn’t pick up within two weeks, it will be released from their custody. After some heavy convo with customer care, i managed to agree on my initial request to pick up

    2. Morgan Diamond

      Same thing happened to me a while back It was on a flight from Singapore and when I landed in Perth I realised I forgot my phone as I was walking through the duty free area I tried to go back but the security guard stopped me but luckily he was a good guy and radioed the flight crew who found it and brought it out to me - very thankful!

      I now extremely and thoroughly check the seat and overhead bin after every flight I take.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

John Guest

Australian readers know this abysmal customer 'service' is typical of Qantas under the rule of Alan Joyce. His focus is 90% on shareholder returns. Keeping shareholders is a good thing, but when you let your product and service go down while jacking up your fares year-on-year, it becomes self-defeating as your customers flee to Singapore Airlines for long hauls to Europe. This prolonged saga of the travelling iphone would not have happened if James Strong were alive and in charge of Qantas.

1
Drank Sinatra Guest

A few years back, I left my iPad in the seat back pocket on a flight from STR-AMS because I ended up talking to my seatmate who was an older lady who was very concerned about the long delay we were having. I didn’t realise I’d left it until I was on my connecting flight to IAD and was unpacking my bag for the flight. Luckily my iPad had cellular, so I opened Find My and noted it was still on the plane, which was still at AMS. I talked to the purser, and they said they would call to see if someone could retrieve it but couldn’t make any promises. I was seated right by the centre door, and as the last passengers were getting on, a gentleman in a high vis vest jogged on with what appeared to be my iPad in his hand. I was absolutely amazed they made it as the flight was already boarding when I got there.

0
JD Guest

Flew MEX-FRA first class (747) a couple of years ago. When I woke up I could not find my iPhone anywhere. After a perfect in flight, it was like an out of body experience… I couldn’t find it, the flight attendants couldn’t find it and the other poor passengers in first class were like “get over it”. I was so embarrassed but once everyone deplaned, mechanics came on board and finally was able to find it… we almost missed our connecting flight but was elated to have my iPhone back for our month long vacation in Europe.

0
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