Last updated: 11:49 AM ET, Tue June 16 2015

Where Does Lost Airline Luggage End Up? In Alabama, of Course!

Features & Advice | Donald Wood | June 16, 2015

Where Does Lost Airline Luggage End Up? In Alabama, of Course!

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

One of the biggest questions many people have when at the airport is where does the luggage that doesn’t get claimed by its owners end up?

Short answer: Alabama.

According to Britteny Dee of, most of the biggest airlines in the world have a working relationship with the Unclaimed Baggage Center, located in Scottsboro, Alabama, and that is where much of the luggage lost during flights finds its new home.

The Unclaimed Baggage Center is a 40,000-square-foot store that buys baggage lost by passengers from major airlines and re-sells it to the public. Airlines attempt to return the luggage to its owners for 90 days, but once that period concludes, the lost goods are sold.

The contents of the lost baggage are sorted through by the company, cleaned up and prepared to be sold at a fraction of the original cost. The store sells everything from electronics to clothing, and everything in between.

Unclaimed Baggage Center brand ambassador, Brenda Cantrell, told about the company’s relationship with top airlines and the cross-section of the store:

“We have an exclusive contract with all the major carriers. We're the only ones in the world, as far as we know, that do what we do. We are definitely a slice of what's going on in America. When you walk the street, you see everything from the ordinary to the extraordinary, and that's what happens in our store.”

While some customers could be wary of traveling all the way to Alabama for the same stock every time, the store receives 6,000 new items each day and hosts an astounding one million customers annually.

Add in an estimated 20,000 articles of clothing being taken to the dry cleaners each day—150 employees at the store work meticulously to clean the items before selling them—and the store is constantly changing its stock.

Not everything can be sold, though. Not only does the Unclaimed Baggage Center throw away perishables and toiletries, but they also donate plenty of items to local charities through the store’s Reclaimed for Good service.

Check out the company’s official website for more details.

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