If you've ever lost knitting needles, pocket sewing kits, corkscrews or all-in-one tools to the airport security checkpoint, here's a way to get it back. Well maybe.
Despite 9/11, more and more boomers are traveling and losing a grip on their goods. The TSA has devised a way to profit from your loss, however small. The confiscated items are sent to various state warehouses to be either reclaimed or sold. However, this isn't exactly news. The Unclaimed Baggage Center has been selling lost luggage in Alabama for years. It was even featured on Oprah. http://www.unclaimedbaggage.com/index.html
It's not clear if they are also selling your gels, lotions or other liquids that are over 3 ounces. Many people report seeing them thrown into the garbage. But one man's garbage bag may be another's TSA shipping container on the way to Tucker, Ga or some other state destination. Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania are saving items with some states even collecting for other states and raising money for their own coffers.
According to the Wall Street Journal article, they are now seeking to reunite passengers with their items before selling them. This may come as some relief to those that have lost a precious gift or heirloom. But don't hold your breath - there are thousands of items retrieved each month.
There's Also Help Preventing Baggage Loss
There's a new service that will assist you and the airport in locating your luggage. It's called Bags ReUnited. According to the website it is a free 24 hour Global Recovery system that " . . . has been created to provide an effective way of ensuring that a lost bag or item can be returned to you."
The online service provides luggage tags (that can be printed from the web) and when your baggage is found, it sends an SMS (text)/email alert message to you. The instructions on the uniquely coded tags can even be printed in various languages depending on your destination. There are a few other features like maintaining your address book and itineraries online, but there are lots of other sites that do that. You can report your loss anywhere you can access the internet (smart idea to add the url to your smart phone with data access).
It also touts free lifetime registration and protection of items other than luggage. While registration, tag printing and notification are free, Instant Alert (SMS text message to your mobile phone) carries a $4.99 yearly surcharge payable by credit card or PayPal.
So - maybe you haven't lost that slamming bathing suit (although you had to buy another at your destination) or the custom engraved chopsticks forever. Focus on enjoying your travels and if the luggage security troll eats your stuff, check out these options before you give up hope.
Carry-On Items Taken at Airports Find Happy Homes - WSJ.com
Unclaimed Baggage Center