Have you ever settled into the waiting area for your next flight only to realize that you’ve left your glasses/phone/ipad/file or some other important item at the security gate or airline lounge or in the seat pocket of a previous flight? If so, you know that moment of panic where you evaluate the time available to go looking for the item and your flight departure. Here’s a few steps that might just help you get those items back....



How can I get an item back?


If you think you’ve left the item on your last flight, providing your flight number, seat number and arrival time could allow a Gate Agent to retrieve your item. If the cleaners have already cleaned the aircraft it will likely be enroute to the airport lost and found. If you are still within the terminal’s secured confine and you’ve left your item at the security checkpoint you will have a short time to return to the security area before the item is sent to the security agency’s  (e.g. TSA)  lost and found (yes it is different than the airport lost and found!). For items left within the airport public areas you must contact that individual airport's Lost and Found department. A courtesy telephone found in all airports can connect you to either department.

What happens to unclaimed items?

As many of these items do not contain any contact information, they are left in the Lost and Found for several weeks (sometimes months depending on the airline or airport authority policy). After that, unclaimed items are sold or given to a charity. To increase your chance of having your item returned to you, insert contact information into the battery compartment of electronics, tape it inside your glasses case, or the inside of your briefcase. Keep a copy of the serial numbers of all electronics in your home travel file for quick access. And check out the ‘find me” features of many of the new smart phones, ipads and laptops – eventually your items may find you!

Some of the strangest items left behind on an airplane or at an airport:

  • Dallas/Fort Worth Airport: Bowling pins, bowling balls, a chain saw, a dog, a cooler full of frozen fish.
  • Detroit Airport: Bicycles, a set of Eastern European dolls.
  • Oregon’s Portland Airport: A dog, a baked potato cooking in a crock pot, a stair climber and tools for a fire dancer.
  • Southwest Airlines: A cooked Thanksgiving turkey, human ashes in an urn, a pink marble sink, prosthetic limbs, a suitcase filled with boxes of cereal.
  • Virgin America: An embalmed baby shark, bullhorns.
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