Land of lost luggage: This online shop sells items found in unclaimed bags at airport

Unclaimed Baggage Center sells belongings in-store and online at heavily discounted prices

Travelers struggling to find luggage after cancellations of Southwest Airlines flights (KSAT)

In the aftermath of holiday travel, as major airlines across the U.S. deal out delays and cancellations, passengers are waiting to reunite with more than loved ones.

People are scrambling to find luggage lost amid the hundreds of flights disrupted at Orlando International Airport and the thousands impacted nationwide.

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But what happens to the baggage that is never claimed?

It’s rare, but about .03% of luggage never finds its owners. That’s according to Unclaimed Baggage Center, an Alabama-based store and online shop that houses and sells these orphaned belongings.

The idea for the store was born in 1970 after Doyle Owens, with a borrowed truck and $300 loan, sold an unclaimed bag from Trailways Bus Line on a cards table. Unclaimed Baggage Center grew from there and has been hailed as the exclusive “land of lost luggage” ever since.

In its over five decades of being open, the store’s seen everything from an aluminized fire suit to a Space Shuttle camera to a live rattlesnake, the company website shows.

The secondhand store, which has developed a huge online presence over the years, partners with domestic airlines throughout the U.S. to resell, repurpose and recycle luggage airport officials can’t match with owners after a three-month search.

When the bag is deemed lost by the airlines, they shell out a claim to the passenger and the bags make their way to a processing facility where the Unclaimed Baggage Center team sorts and sifts through each item, according to the store’s website.

While only a third of the items are able to be sold, the center donates or recycles what it can’t sell. The items that make it through—clothing, designer bags, jewelry, electronics—are then laundered, cleaned, appraised and scrubbed of any personal data, depending on what it needs.

Retail professionals then assess the worth of the belongings and the shop sells them in-house and online at 80% below the estimated retail value.

For more information on the Unclaimed Baggage store and to check out the thousands of items in the online shop, click here.

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About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.