The last time I was at the airport, I must have heard at least four announcements go over the intercom asking passengers to return to the counter because they’d walked off with someone else’s bag! That made me wonder: what happens to their stuff if they never return to get the right bag?
Here’s a wonderful story of what happened to one lucky passenger’s lost items. Brit Morin, who happens to be the founder of the lifestyle media company Brit + Co, was traveling through the Newark, New Jersey airport. At some point, she realized that she’d lost her gorgeous wedding and engagement rings. I would have freaked out!
Fortunately for her, the rings fell into the right hands. An agent for United airlines found them and had the good idea to pass them to a pilot who was headed back Morin’s way, to San Francisco. You might say the pilot flew the extra mile, however. He didn’t just transport the rings to California — he hand-delivered them to Morin. Talk about customer service!
So what happens to all the stuff that’s lost and not personally delivered? Airports typically have a lost-and-found counter. If you’ve left something behind, you can return there and retrieve it as long as some kind soul has turned it in. Some airports, like the San Diego International, keep online databases to help people recover items, which include lots of credit cards, cash, clothing, and valuable electronics.
But hurry — there’s usually a 30 day time limit. If you haven’t picked up your lost item by then, the TSA can auction it off and use the funds to help pay down the US debt!
With the strange array of things that turn up lost at airports, its no surprise that some go left unclaimed. A spokesperson for the Portland International Airport reports that dentures, a spare tire, live fish, and a crock pot with food still inside are just a few of the unusual things they’ve found left behind by passengers.
Too bad the items were lost, because I’d like to ask the owners questions like: What were you planning on doing with those live fish? Why was it so important that you carry that very spare tire with you?
Many of the more interesting unclaimed items that the TSA sells wind up in the famous Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama. Part thrift store, part museum of oddities, the UBC has featured items like a zebra skin, 50 vacuum-packed frogs, a full suit of armor, a 40.95 carat emerald, a shrunken head, and an ancient Egyptian mummified hawk. If you’re ever down that way, check it out for truly unique shopping experience.
We’re certainly glad that Brit Morin’s wedding and engagement rings were returned to her instead of winding up at the Unclaimed Baggage Center or somewhere else. Big thanks to the airline crew for looking out for a passenger! Check out the video below to learn about the special touch the pilot added when returning the rings to Morin. It’s so sweet!