Unclaimed Baggage Center has been around for nearly 50 years, and during that time we’ve gotten a lot of questions from you about how it all works! To help clear up some of the mystery, we’ve compiled the top 10 most frequently asked questions we hear all the time:
1. How can there be so much lost luggage?
Only about half of 1 percent of checked bags fail to show up at the baggage carousel. Within five days, almost 98 percent of the delayed bags have made their way home. During the next three months, through a comprehensive baggage tracing process conducted by the airlines, over half of the remaining bags are reunited with their owners.
A surprisingly small fraction of a percent of passenger bags checked each year are ultimately deemed lost. Yet even that small percentage results in a warehouse full of unclaimed articles, all waiting for you to discover at Unclaimed Baggage Center.
2. Can you find my lost suitcase/laptop/phone/favorite sweater?
Regrettably, no. We would love to reunite you with your lost item, but by the time Unclaimed Baggage has purchased the luggage, every effort has been made by the airlines over a three to four 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 repurposed or sold.
3. Do airlines make a profit from lost bags?
No, airlines do not profit from unclaimed baggage. Carriers invest significant manpower and technological resources in the baggage recovery process, and passengers are compensated on any bags not found. Only a fraction of the total tracing and claims settlement costs are recouped by selling the lost bags.
4. Why do airlines sell the remaining unclaimed bags to Unclaimed Baggage Center?
Unclaimed Baggage Center provides an important service to the airlines by buying unclaimed bags and their contents and repurposing them in the best way possible.
5. Does Unclaimed Baggage sell everything it buys in lost luggage?
Not everything sent to Unclaimed Baggage is suitable for sale in our store. A complex sorting process separates out the best merchandise for the retail floor, and items not sold to the public are either repurposed or discarded. Be sure to visit the store and check out our Unclaimed Baggage Experience where we go over the sorting process in detail AND have a lucky guest get to go through a bag! Read more about that here.
6. What happens to the items that aren’t sold in store?
Through relationships with multiple charity organizations locally, nationally and around the globe, Unclaimed Baggage is able to reclaim more than half of these leftover items for good. Millions of dollars of clothing, eyeglasses, medical supplies and other useful items are refurbished and donated to those in need each year through our Reclaimed For Good program.
7. What kind of products do you sell?
If it’s packed in a suitcase or left on a plane, it could wind up for sale at Unclaimed Baggage. We sell a wide variety of items commonly taken on business trips and vacations such as clothes, cameras, jewelry, electronics and golf clubs. Most people pack their best clothes for vacation or buy items there that come to us new with tags! You never know what people may pack, so you could be one of the lucky shoppers to scoop up an African mask, vacuum-packed frogs, or even a snowboard.
8. Is this all really unclaimed baggage?
Our merchandise is a combination of unclaimed baggage and cargo, primarily from commercial airlines but also from buses, trains, trucks, and other transportation venues.
9. Are the clothes clean? What condition are the electronics in?
All clothing is professionally cleaned. In fact, Unclaimed Baggage Center has the largest known commercial dry cleaning and laundry facility in Alabama. We wash or dry clean over 20,000 items per day, more than most professional dry cleaners handle in a year! Electronic equipment is thoroughly tested and all personal data is erased before it is sold.
10. What are some of the craziest items you’ve found in luggage?
The list for surprising items is long! We’ve found everything from a live rattlesnake to a camera from a space shuttle (which we returned to NASA) to a Platinum Rolex valued at over $60,000! Read more about some of the wild items we have uncovered here.
Did we miss any of your questions? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you.
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