Fallen AirPods Are Becoming a Nuisance for NYC Subway Workers

Attention: do not try to retrieve your lost AirPods from the tracks.
Fabienne Lang

NYC Subway workers — the underground rail system, not the sandwich shop — have been dealing with a plague: A plague of AirPods dropping onto train tracks.

The little Apple wireless white headphones are easy to use once tucked into your ears but, once in a while, they fall out. It just so happens that a high number of them have been falling while commuters get on and off the NYC subway, and have been landing on the tracks. 


Metro Transit Authority (MTA) workers are becoming exasperated with the additional work of retrieving these little wearable objects, as they have more pressing matters to deal with. 

Public service announcement

The subway's workers told the Wall Street Journal that they were considering issuing a public service announcement, which would urge subway riders to remove their AirPods from their ears prior to jumping on and off trains. 

The aim is to minimize the chances of them dropping out of their owners' ears, and onto the tracks. 

Fallen AirPods Are Becoming a Nuisance for NYC Subway Workers
AirPods. Source: Florian-Media/Pixabay

Steven Dluginski, an MTA maintenance supervisor, told the Wall Street Journal that the number of fallen AirPods jumped up over the summer, as Apple had released a new version of the headphones. 

Given the high temperatures and humidity the Big Apple undergoes over its summer months, it's no surprise the little earphones struggled to stay snug in the ears of their owners. Air-conditioning units have yet to make it to New York City's subway stations or trains!

Why are people hell-bent on retrieving their AirPods?

Given that just one costs $69 for a replacement, it's quite understandable that people are asking for their AirPods to be rescued off the tracks. A new pair cost a whopping $159.

So, MTA workers use long poles and a clamp to retrieve the earpieces from the dark tracks. As Dluginski said, "the only saving grace is that they’re white." They're easy to spot at least. 

Sometimes, the owners try and reach for them themselves, creating makeshift poles with what they find. However, this isn't recommended as it can be quite dangerous with active rail tracks, and can cause delays for the trains.

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