Have you ever wondered where lost luggage goes when it can’t be reunited with its rightful owner? It usually ends up at the Unclaimed Baggage Center (UBC) in Scottsboro, Alabama after a three- to four-month period. RELATED: Airline Executive’s Number One Tip For Avoiding Lost Luggage When You Fly

Lost luggage at Toronto's Pearson International Airport. According to UBC’s website, “every effort has been made by the airlines over a 3-4 month period to return it to its owner. After this point, claims have been paid out and the items are sent with no identifying information to Unclaimed Baggage to be resold, repurposed, or recycled.”

What’s also interesting and surprising is that the “airlines do not benefit in any way from unclaimed baggage. Carriers want to preserve their customer goodwill and therefore invest significant manpower and technological resources in the baggage recovery process. Passengers are compensated for any bags not found.”

Anyone who has lost their bag knows that the airline only reimburses a certain amount (usually up to $3,800 for domestic trips and just up to $9.07 per pound for international trips) and they make the passengers jump through hoops to prove what they had. Plus, there’s a long laundry list (no pun intended) of everything not covered (e.g., cash, jewelry, cameras).

This is why you get travel insurance and pay your ticket with a premium credit card (here are some we suggest).

As you can imagine, the Unclaimed Baggage Center is a one-of-a-kind retail store and offers a treasure trove of goods from a combination of unclaimed baggage and cargo, primarily from commercial airlines, but also from buses, trains, trucks, and other travel, hospitality and transportation sources.

UBC has been around since 1970 but for the first time, they’ve created a ‘Found Report’ from last year’s goods. The inaugural Found Report delves into the over two million items that found their way to the Unclaimed Baggage store. What I found most interesting is the 10 Most Frequently Found Items and the 10 Most Expensive Things Found. They also offer travel tips and tricks for not losing your luggage.

The 10 Most Frequently Found Items

1. Undies
They promise they only sell the brand new ones.

2. Shoes
With an approximately 4% higher volume of ladies shoes, and sneakers being the most common type of lost shoe overall.

3. Tablets and e-readers
They observed a significant decrease in laptops this year and a large uptick in tablets.

4. T-Shirts
They’ve seen an increase in vintage tees.

5. Books
In 2023, travelers were reading a lot of Colleen Hoover and James Patterson.

6. Blouses
Specifically, mostly summer blouses since summer is one of the busiest travel seasons.

7. Blue Jeans
Men’s jeans were roughly 12% more common than women’s jeans.

8. Headphones

9. Bluetooth earbuds, specifically AirPods
Far fewer over-the-ear headphones compared to recent years.

10. Dresses
With ladies’ shoes, blouses, and dresses. Two conclusions may be drawn: women are more likely to lose their suitcase or women Typically pack more than men.

The 10 Most Expensive Things Found in 2023

1. 14-karat gold diamond ring appraised at $37,050
2. Cartier Panthere watch appraised at $26,500
3. Birkin 25 Bag Rose Azalea Swift Tote appraised at $25,300
4. FLIR 1530 Professional Thermal Camera valued at $12,119
5. Louis Vuitton Nike Air Force 1 Mid valued at $12,000
6. Men’s Kiton sport coat valued at $10,000
7. Silk-Blend Givenchy Gown valued at $9,990
8. Shure H50 Quad Channel Digital Wireless Receiver valued at $6,453
9. Chanel Black Solid Tweed Blazer valued at $5,450
10. Gibson Hummingbird Acoustic Electric Guitar valued at $4,000

The inaugural edition of Unclaimed Baggage’s annual report can be found here.


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1 Comment On "The 10 Most Frequently Found Items (and the Most Expensive!) at the Unclaimed Baggage Center"
  1. Mrs. Dave|

    I think it would be great if every major airport or major city had an “unclaimed luggage” shop – what a fun treasure trove to look through while waiting for a flight.

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