Whether or not to check your luggage is the age-old question every traveler must ask themselves. The confines of carry-on size luggage may limit your packing space, but is it worth the risk of losing checked luggage? Regardless of the precautions taken, a certain anxiety emerges at check-in as the conveyor belt carries your precious luggage away until landing. Well, as it turns out, there’s no reason to panic after all.
The Unclaimed Baggage Center (UBC) is a unique organization that buys lost luggage from airlines and sells the ownerless products inside them. Recently, UBC published a fact sheet based on some fascinating statistics and information obtained from working with lost luggage.
“One of the fears of traveling is not finding your bag once you reach your destination. We thought we would share what we have learned from over 45 years in the business of lost luggage to clear up some misconceptions,” says Brenda Cantrell, brand ambassador for UBC.
1. It is extraordinarily rare to lose your bag forever. Roughly 1 percent of bags fail to meet owners at the carousel. Within a period of 24 hours, 80 to 90 percent of these missing bags are found. By five days, 95 to 98 percent are returned to their owners, and over the subsequent period of 90 days or more, more than half of remaining bags are returned. These numbers point to a truly infinitesimal chance of losing your bag forever.
2. Unclaimed luggage is taken to Scottsboro, Alabama. Once the airlines have conducted an extensive, 90-day search for baggage owners, items still unclaimed will be brought to UBC. Their 40,000 sq. ft. store is located in Scottsboro, Alabama. Only about one-third of purchased items make it to the retail store, but these still account for 7,000 new items on a daily basis. Unclaimed baggage items which aren’t sold are either trashed or donated.
3. Lost luggage contains a wide variety of contents. Unclaimed Baggage has received a truly diverse mix of unclaimed items over the years, including everything from moldy cheese to wedding dresses to a live snake. It’s not all garbage and garments though—sometimes unclaimed baggage holds high value items. Valuable items are typically jewelry, electronics and historical documents. The highest priced item obtained by UBC was a men’s Presidential Platinum Rolex watch. The watch was valued at an original price of $65,000 and was sold by UBC for just $23,000.
4. Unclaimed Baggage Center offers one-of-a-kind shopping. Unclaimed Baggage Center covers more than one city block, drawing in more than one million visitors per year from every state and more than 40 foreign countries. Products offered include a wide variety of items, such as thrifted clothing, electronics, books, jewelry, home goods and more.