If you've ever gotten off a flight to wonder "Where is my luggage?" we may have found the answer. A place called Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama stocks up on suitcases never claimed or lost by the airline in addition to their contents, says a story in the Sydney Morning Herald. What's more, these items are marked down by 20 to 80 percent, meaning you can unearth some pretty serious steals.
How does your lost bag wind up in a discount store? The story reports that about 68,000 bags are never returned to their owners. The airline usually spends about three months trying to find the owner, then gives up. The Unclaimed Baggage Center, which opened back in 1970, offers about 7,000 new items each day. Some of the airlines, like US Airways and JetBlue, make a profit off selling possessions to the store, while others, like Southwest and Virgin America, give lost items to charity.
There are some simple tricks to make sure your don't have to ask "Where is my luggage?" Put your destination inside the bag, pack valuables in your carry-on and make sure your address tags are correct. You can also sign up at Globalbagtag.com and get serial numbers for your luggage tags so you can track your bag online and get alerted when it is found.
If your bag truly is lost, you can at least get reimbursed for the contents, but you may need receipts, and certain items, like jewelry, won't be covered. An airline baggage liability of $3,300 per person exists on flights within the U.S., reports Independent Traveler. Report the lost bag via a complaint with the airline or the Department of Transportation's Aviation Consumer Protection Division. Know that if you suspect your bag of being stolen, you need to call police.
Some airports, like JFK and LAX, have web sites pertaining to lost luggage. Independent Traveler also has a list of both domestic and international airlines and their phone numbers. Here are the web sites and contact info for domestic carriers:
American Airlines: Lost Luggage Web site/Hotline: 1-800-535-5225
Delta: Lost Luggage Website
Frontier: Lost Luggage Website/Email: [email protected]/Hotline: 1-877-461-5737
JetBlue: Lost Luggage Website/Hotline: 1-866-538-5438
Southwest: Hotline: 1-888-202-1024
Spirit: Lost Luggage Website/Hotline: 1-877-888-5926 Option 2
United: Lost Luggage Website/Email: [email protected]/Hotline: 1-800-221-6903
US Airways: Lost Luggage Website/Contact form
Virgin America: Lost Luggage Website/Hotline: 1-877-359-8474
If you did lose your bag and never got it back, check out our Cheap Luggage Guide to save on a new piece of luggage.
Does this unclaimed baggage store incite or excite you?