Several large metal crates filled with luggage outside of an airport.

Can You Buy Lost Luggage?

What do you do when you lose your luggage? Like most people, you might panic and hope it turns up at the airport. Unfortunately, plenty of luggage remains missing. But what happens to all of that lost luggage?

Surprisingly, the airport sells most of it to stores where you can buy it. That’s not a solution to losing your luggage, but if you’re up for finding out more about how to buy these lost items, keep reading!

What Do Airports Do With Lost Luggage?

If an airport has ever lost your luggage, you’re not alone. According to Luggage Hero, you have a 0.4 percent chance of the airport mishandling or losing your luggage. But what do airports do with luggage that people lose but never claim?

In the event a bag goes missing, you have four hours to file a complaint about this missing luggage starting from the time the flight lands. After five days of no word of the lost bag showing up, your case will transition to the central baggage office. If the case of the missing bag is still a mystery after 100 days, the bag is probably at a lost luggage auction or a lost luggage store. 

However, only around two percent of lost luggage goes missing forever. So if your bag is missing, hopefully, you will not be part of the two percent.

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Can You Buy Lost Luggage?

If you are part of the two percent who lose their luggage indefinitely, people can now purchase your bags. Yes, you can buy lost luggage.

Well versed in the world of secondhand purchasing experiences, Safiya visits a lost luggage store to see just how it works.

Once it’s lost, the likelihood of the original owners ever coming across their belongings again after so long is slim to none. So instead of having perfectly satisfactory goods sit in a landfill, most lost luggage ends up at a specialty store.

Where Can You Find a Store That Sells Only Contents of Lost Luggage?

The store to buy lost luggage has an apt title: Unclaimed Baggage. Unclaimed Baggage has purchasing agreements with all domestic airlines to give unclaimed luggage a second life through retail locations and online options. They donate non-retail items to various local and global charities. 

Unclaimed Baggage offers an online shopping experience and a brick-and-mortar retail store. The 50,000-square-foot retail space has everything from merchandise to events and dining options. This isn’t your everyday shopping excursion. 

The store is in Scottsboro, Alabama. The trek there isn’t only about shopping; it’s also about the area’s beauty. So head to Alabama for one of the most unique shopping experiences you’ll ever find, but also enjoy the beauty that is Scottsboro. It won’t be hard to do while in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains on the Tennessee River.

What Are the Benefits of Buying Lost Luggage?

There are a few reasons someone might want to buy lost luggage. For one, it can be an excellent way to get good deals on items you need. Lost luggage often contains high-end items like designer clothes, electronics, and jewelry. If you’re looking for a new piece of clothing, a gadget, or something unique, buying lost luggage is worth considering.

Another reason to buy lost luggage is that it can be fun. It’s like a treasure hunt, and you never know what you’ll find.

The contents of a suitcase including sunglasses, headphones, shoes, and clothes.

Unclaimed Baggage plays on this thrill well. They choose one lucky visitor daily to see what it’s like to open up a new bag and sort through its contents. Taking place daily in the center of the store, this is a benefit of paying a visit to the physical location.

If you’re the type of person who enjoys a good scavenger hunt, buying lost luggage is for you.

Which Airline Loses the Most Luggage? 

Shopping for lost luggage may be fun; however, most people don’t look forward to losing their luggage. It’s crucial to know that not all airlines are equal when it comes to losing bags. Some airlines lose more than others. 

Business Insider states, “American Airlines reported a lost baggage rate of 0.93 mishandled bags per 100 enplaned, worse than any other airline on the list.” Losing 300,590 bags makes American Airlines the airline losing the most luggage. Compiling all of the U.S. airlines, there have been over 1.4 million bags lost so far in 2022.

While many millions of bags were not missing, do the numbers matter if it was your bag that the airlines lost? Do you lose out, or are you compensated for lost luggage?

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Do Airlines Compensate for Lost Luggage?

Airlines compensate for lost luggage, but you’ll need to follow the proper procedures and complete all necessary forms by the airline carrier. They will typically reimburse you for the cost of your belongings. 

A suitcase and backpack left at the airport gate with passengers boarding the plane in the background

If flying within the U.S., the airline can cover up to $3,500 per passenger for lost or damaged luggage. However, it’s essential to remember that not all airlines have the same policies, so it’s always best to check with your airline before you travel.

Is It Worth Buying Lost Luggage? 

Is it worth buying lost luggage? That’s a decision that you’ll have to make for yourself. If you’re looking for an excellent deal on high-end items, then it might be worth considering.

However, if you’re not comfortable with the idea of buying someone else’s belongings, then it might not be for you. Ultimately, the decision is yours.

What do you think, would you buy lost luggage? 

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