Tag Archives: Lost luggage

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 howstuffworks.com 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…..

This bunny bites

Maybe you should think twice before you choose your Instagram or twitter handle.  This one really made me laugh.  @thisbunnybites.  Yes there is someone out there with this handle.  It actually belongs to a lady who went ballistic when she thought that she had been robbed by American Airlines.   When she opened up her bag only to find it filled with airline paraphernalia …. as per the photo she posted online…

Anna Knight suitcase

In fact she had taken the wrong suitcase and her suitcase was waiting at the airport.  But this was after she had vented online –

anna knight remarks

In fairness she posted an apology afterwards and said that maybe it was the jet lag.  You have to sympathise with that and it is rather unusual that someone from the airline had used a bag so similar to her own to store runway equipment clothing.

The funny thing to me is her twitter handle – yes this bunny bites – that’s for sure.

But this lady had a real problem – people taking the wrong bag off the carousel.  How many times don’t you see people halfway pulling a case off the carousel only to dump it back on because they realise it is not their suitcase.  That’s why you see such a proliferation of ribbons and scarves tied to luggage to make it stand out.  Some people are even going for a very personalised look –

image suitcase

Others are getting techy and using tracking devices.  For me I would think that I would prefer to stop the problem before it started and try to at least make my luggage look unique with luggage straps and tags.

funny luggage tag

So this way your luggage will stand out and you won’t need to post frustrated tweets from this bunny bites or similar.

You lost my luggage?

If it has happened to you in the past you are a rare beast. Statistics tell us that 99% of luggage arrives safely at its destination. Which is incredible if you think about it. I always look at my suitcase trundling down into that Neverland of suitcase mayhem and wonder if I will ever see it again. I get to the other end (of the world) and lo and behold there it is! It’s a miracle.

Look how happy she is.
Look how happy she is.

Not so much fun is losing your bag – forever!  Yes we have all had baggage delays and then that nice man from Calgary airport arrives at the front door at 11 pm a couple of days later with the missing bag.  But what about when it disappears completely?  What happened?  Did the baggage tag fall off?  Did your address label tear?  You know you should have bought the sturdy leather one and not rely on the last-minute paper labels at the check in counter.  And you do realise you should have put your name and address inside your suitcase?  Otherwise how will they ever know it’s your bag?  Another problem is filling in the form for the lost baggage.  Can you remember actually what colour or make your suitcase was?  I know I couldn’t.  Mmmm – did I take the red one or the black one this time?  Did it have two wheels or four wheels?  Maybe the best thing is to have such a distinctive bag that it really stands out in a crowd.

And talking about crowds…. what is it with the baggage carousel? People stake their claim to a place right in the front leaving the late arrivals bobbing around trying to peak between shoulders to see if they can identify their bag.  Then when you do see your bag you have to rugby scrum your way through the crowd to get to it before it scoots along the line and disappears down the hole again!

Your bag is not there yet!

Your bag is not there yet!

So eventually when your unidentified suitcase lands up in the warehouse someone has to go through the contents to see if there is a way of identifying the owner.  Not a nice thought.  Remember that next time you cram all your dirty washing in a plastic bag.  Imagine that after a few weeks in a warehouse in Barbados!

Apparently there are giant warehouses all over the world where lost luggage piles up and the contents are eventually sold to defray expenses.  John Smith of the Toronto Sun described how he went to what they call “Roll Out Tuesdays” where unclaimed items are sold sight unseen by the pound. http://www.torontosun.com/2013/01/29/where-does-unclaimed-baggage-end-up .  A bit like Storage Wars.  There is even a whole website devoted to one such operation down in the States.  You can buy just about anything and their blog makes interesting reading.  http://unclaimedbaggage.com/

I guess you could come away with some great bargains – including wedding gowns!  Imagine how mad that bride was…..I wouldn’t like to be the airline representative for that airline!  Mind you – some wedding dresses might be better off lost for ever…..bride

If this is Hanoi where are my tighty whities?

There lies my suitcase – on the living room floor – and it’s packed.  The remarkable thing about this is that it was packed a good 36 hours before I am due to leave the house and head for the airport.  This must constitute a record.  It is such an amazing occurrence it has been giving me a headache and caused me to wake up in the middle of the night wondering if I have finally gone off my rocker!  People, this is an unheard of phenomenon.  I have been known to finish my packing with the taxi waiting at the front door.   This has caused huge distraction and lack of concentration – like the time we drove all the way to Calgary airport and left my bag sitting on the floor of the garage.   Or the time I completely forgot to pack my underwear.  Yes, you try wearing a pair of your husband’s tighty whities under your skirt and see how it feels.

Tighty Whities - or what I would call Y-Fronts

So I am feeling rather smug at the moment – which is not a good thing as I know from experience.  I am heading into untrodden territory – at least for me.  First stop is Hanoi, followed by Ha Long Bay, Siem Reap and the Mekong.  Wow – I feel dizzy at the thought.  Have I really packed the right stuff – maybe I should go through it all just one more time…. just to be sure.

Stop it Lesley – it will be fine.  The bag is packed – let it be….. but just double check you packed your knickers.