Where Does Your Lost Luggage Go When You Fly?
Have you ever lost an item or worse yet your luggage while flying? Ever wonder what happened to your belongings?
Most airports in the U.S., which includes the Detroit Metro Airport, will hold lost items and baggage for up to 90 days. The Gerald R Ford Airport in Grand Rapids generally holds items for 30 days. What happens to all of that stuff after the 30-90 days has expired?
Many airports around the U.S. sell lost items including baggage to a huge place in tiny Alabama town according to okwhatever.org,
After 90 days at most airports, if no claim form has been submitted reporting the loss and the airline has been unable to locate the owner, the contents of whatever luggage has been left behind are either donated to charity, sold at auction through the airline, or, more often than not for U.S. airlines, sold in bulk to the Unclaimed Baggage Center. They purchase the suitcases sight unseen, meaning they have no idea what’s inside of them or what will eventually end up on the shelves of their store.
Over 50 years ago the Unclaimed Baggage Center was created according to the Seattle Times,
Using a $300 loan and a borrowed pickup truck, Owens bought his first load of unclaimed baggage in 1970 and sold the contents atop card tables.
This place is massive. This 40,000 square-foot shopping center receives more than 7,000 new items every day. People from all 50 states and 40 foreign countries have shopped this lost and found thrift shop.
If you want to buy something from the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama you'll have to do it in person. They do NOT sell anything online.
So, back to your lost items. Each airport website has the same message, "contact your airline." If you have lost your luggage or other items at one of our local airports and have had no luck with your airline, here are links that may help:
Click here for the Capital Region International Airport in Lansing (LAN)
Click here for the Detroit Metro Airport (DTW)
Click here for the Kalamazoo Battle Creek International Airport (AZO)
Click here for the Gerald R. Ford Airport in Grand Rapids (GRR)
We reached out to each of the airports above to find out if they also sell lost and found items to the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Alabama. We haven't heard back yet.