Alisabeth Hayden Airpods: United Airlines passenger who forgot listening device on plane and was told they’d be retrieved has item traced to worker’s home as questions are now asked.
. Were they stolen? A female passenger who left her AirPods on a recent United Airlines flight was told she couldn’t retrieve them as she alighted has revealed tracking them down to an airport employee’s home.
Alisabeth Hayden claims a flight attendant on the flight had promised to bring back the expensive gadgets – which were in her denim jacket – only for the items to be missing when her jacket was returned to her.
Hayden nevertheless was able to locate the device’s movements and located them down to a contract worker’s house some twelve days later. But how did they end up there?
Speaking to CNN, Hayden who hails from Washington state, told the outlet she had just flown back home after flying to Tokyo to visit her military husband who was stationed there.
As she was vacating the plane, she noticed her jacket missing.
Tracked to United contract worker’s San Mateo address
‘I realized before I was even off the plane,’ she told the outlet.
‘I was the third from last off the plane, so I asked the flight attendant if I could go and get it.
‘He said no – I was required by federal law to get off the plane and stand beside it, where the strollers are brought to. I was tired, he said he’d bring it to me, I said OK.’
According to Hayden, the flight attendant brought her back the jacket and proceeded to board her next flight to Seattle at which point she realized the pockets had been opened and the AirPods were gone.
But AirPods have a feature which can allow users to track them from their phone where they are.
Hayden tracked them down to a ‘United Cargo’ which sat in an area of the airport where passengers would not be.
She watched as the device moved through several terminals then to a residential address in San Mateo.
Stone walled by United during her search
The address was later matched to that of a contractor employed by the airport working to load food onto the aircraft.
‘I’m a diligent person, and I tracked the whole way from San Francisco to Seattle, taking screenshots the entire time,’ Hayden told CNN.
Hayden also marked the AirPods as ‘lost’ on the app meaning anybody who used them would hear a message telling them they were hers and repeating her phone number.
In the meantime she fought with United to get the gadgets back only to run into hurdles.
She emailed every United Airlines executive she could find and posted repeatedly about the incident on their Facebook page.
‘I hit every avenue I could find, and used every possible form of communication, and got the same response: ‘I’m sorry that happened to you,’” she said.
Police investigation underway
Hayden eventually involved the police who brought the employee in for questioning. He denied having the gadgets.
He later said he had been given them by one of the airport cleaners.
After 12 days of chasing, the devices were eventually returned to her. But not necessarily in the pristine condition that they were when she boarded the plane in Japan.
A week after CNN first contacted the airline about her case, Hayden was told she would receive $271.91 in expenses (to buy a new pair) plus 5,000 miles as an apology.
United told CNN the matter had been handed over to law enforcement.
It added: ‘United Airlines holds our vendors to the highest standards and we are working with local authorities in their investigation of this matter.’
The case is being handled by the San Francisco Airport Police Department which will submit the case to the San Mateo District Attorney’s office.
No charges have been filed.