Luggage that is Not Claimed

Published by April 15, 2011

Most travel insurance plans cover luggage that is delayed or lost during the trip.  This is useful for travelers who need their belongings, but the bags did not arrive with them.  Those travelers who don’t realize they are missing luggage may never claim them, either with the airlines or with travel insurance.  A recent article from MSNBC discusses what happens to unclaimed bags.

Along a country road next to a muffler shop and a cemetery is a 40,000-square-foot store filled with all the items that never made it home from vacation. Shoes, samurai swords, iPods, even lingerie, all available for 20 to 80 percent off.

When airlines can’t determine who owns a bag, they sell it for a few bucks to the Unclaimed Baggage Center, a warehouse-sized facility that would put your local PTA garage sale to shame.

Past an entranceway of world clocks and columns decorated with foreign currency, one traveler’s misfortune turns into a bargain-hunter’s paradise.

“You never know what you may find,” says Clayton Grider, a Scottsboro youth minister who often starts his day at the store. “It is a sport.”

More than 2 million of the roughly 700 million suitcases checked on U.S. airlines last year didn’t arrive with their owners. The vast majority were returned within 24 hours, typically on the next flight. But 68,000 never made it. After 90 days unsuccessfully trying to reunite passenger and parcel, most airlines sell the bags here.

Travelers with lost or delayed bags should attempt to recover their belongings with the airline or airport.  This is an important step because a travel insurance claim for baggage & personal items loss will only be paid after compensation, if any, is provided by the travel supplier.  Bags that go unclaimed with the airlines may not be reimbursed by the travel insurance.  Always refer to the certificate of insurance for details.

Source: Where do unclaimed bags end up? Alabama