Ever wonder what happens to unclaimed baggage?
One place it goes to is Scottsboro, Alabama, to the Unclaimed Baggage Center, where previously lost or forgotten items find a new home. After a predetermined search period, most major airlines reimburse customers for lost baggage after which any found luggage—and its contents—can be sold. The same rules apply to unclaimed cargo.
Unclaimed Baggage Center started in 1970 as a part-time business when the owners drove to Washington, D.C., to claim their first load of unclaimed baggage. In 1995, the store expanded and is now the size of a full city block. More than 7,000 new items are added every day.
Merchandise is 60 percent clothing, while other items include cameras, electronics, jewelry, sporting goods, books, and the luggage itself. UBC has many stories of more unique items, such as a full suit of armor, gemstones, a complete parachute, a guidance system for an F-16 fighter jet, and even a live rattlesnake.
The on-site museum is where one can find the more exotic, rare, and valuable items. Among the items on display are a violin dating from the 1700s, Egyptian artifacts, and “Hoggle,” the gnome-like gatekeeper from Jim Henson’s Labyrinth.
More than one million people visit the store each year.