How to find suitcase heaven

Where do suitcases go when they get separated from their owners?  Do they go on world wide adventures collecting stamps along the way?  Do they brood in dark hangers in semi-deserted airport storage.  Do they shiver when spiders crawl over them and make their nets around the handles and the locks?

If you have ever lost a suitcase on a flight …..

OK – stand by people – I know there are lots of you out there …. BUT

Have you ever lost a suitcase on a flight and NEVER EVER seen it again?  The numbers that this happens to might surprise you.

When bags are unclaimed the airlines have to do something with it – so they sell it!  Surprised?  A business in Alabama buys unclaimed suitcases from airlines.  Once they get them to their warehouse they unpack the bags and launder most of the clothes for resale.  The website reports

“When a lost suitcase or backpack arrives at the Unclaimed Baggage Center, employees remove all clothing for laundering and search every zippered pocket and corner crevice for treasures. Their diligence pays: In addition to Egyptian artifacts from 1500 B.C. (which included a shrunken head), employees have uncovered a 40.95 carat emerald, a 5.8 carat diamond and a Muppet from the movie “Labyrinth.”

Some items are so valuable and unusual, you might wonder what happened to the person who lost them. The Unclaimed Baggage Center has returned an F-16 guidance system to the U.S. Navy and a space shuttle camera to NASA.”

In Britain they have a different way of dealing with lost unclaimed luggage.  They sell them off to specialist auction houses where you can go a bid on a suitcase (sometimes without seeing its contents).  So it is a bit like Storage Wars.  Who knows what you might get?  The bids are generally from about $20 up to $130.  That might be a lot of money to pay for someone else’s laundry but I guess those who bid take a good look at the type  of suitcase before putting a number on their bid. 

Some houses actually empty the suitcases because they feel that the suitcase itself is usually worth more than the contents.   But if you want to see what its all about check out this video

In all my travels I haven’t lost a suitcase or even had one delayed …. Oh my goodness are the travel gods looking down and laughing at me…. I leave on my next trip soon…..

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

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