When United Airlines lost her bag, Washington DC resident, Valerie Szybala, didn’t give up – the bag had an Apple AirTag inside and so Valerie turned detective.

The AirTag showed that the bag was in an apartment complex. Valerie asked “Where is my bag?” to United Airlines Customer Services using @United on Twitter. United advised that her bag was at a United distribution centre.

Valerie decided to visit the apartment complex – she was shocked to discover empty bags abandoned by a dumpster out back.

Valerie was even able to email one bags owner and advise them what happened to their lost-by-United luggage.

United continued to deny that anything was wrong.

Exasperated, Valerie (@vszyb) posted this on Twitter.

I’d just like everyone to know that @united has lost track of my bag and is lying about it. My apple AirTag shows that it has been sitting in a residential apartment complex for over a day. Out back by the dumpsters, I have found other emptied United Airlines bags.

On January 2nd, Valerie noticed that her AirTag was on the move. She wrote:

MAJOR UPDATE: for the first time since Friday my AirTag (and hopefully luggage) appears to be on the move… it’s at a McDonalds? The plot thickens…

That is indeed a McDonalds.

Sadly, the bag went back to the apartment complex.

ANOTHER MAJOR UPDATE: My luggage AirTag has left McDonalds and returned to the apartment complex where it is being held hostage!

I’d love to provide more updates, but my AirTag seems to have settled into the mystery apartment complex for the night. I’ll check again in the morning.

Good morning all. Here’s an update: my AirTag is on the move! It’s about 16 miles outside of the city in the suburbs. Hopefully this means it is on a delivery run?

Although, it’s been sitting at this shopping complex for the past half hour so maybe it’s just out for another meal…

UPDATE: It was not a delivery run! After going shopping in the suburbs my AirTag has returned to the apartment complex!!

Valerie’s story was picked up by a couple of local TV news crews. They followed Valerie and some friends to the apartment building.

Ok here’s what happened at the finale. This morning after my suitcase went to the suburbs on another shopping trip and then back to the apartment complex I went to see if I could track it down.

After creeping around the building’s garage with a little posse trying to get a signal, I stepped outside for service. That’s when I received this text message. It’s sketchy, and it doesn’t really match with what my AirTag tracking said, but I immediately called the number.

The dude who picked up was around the corner, so he drove back to meet me near the building. He looked a little surprised to have two news crews filming. He asked if he was in trouble or something, but at that moment I was too happy to have my bag back to ask more questions.

I don’t know that this guy was telling the truth, I suspect he was not. Nothing I’ve been told by this guy or @United
explains why my bag spent 3 days in an apartment complex garage, with occasional shopping excursions. I’d still like some answers.

The two empty bags I had seen by the dumpster were gone today. The helpful building resident said they weren’t picked up by trash collection, she saw someone bring them back inside! Which adds to the sketchy factor for sure.

Thanks again for all of the interest and support. If I get any further interesting details I’ll report back, but for now I’ll end with some lessons learned:

That’s excellent advice from Valerie and it’s great to see she got her bag back.

How AirTags Work

AirTags don’t have GPS, instead, they rely on pinging a nearby iPhone via Bluetooth – the pinged iPhone then sends the location to Apple and the owner of the AirTag can see the location.