The storefront of the Unclaimed Baggage Center. Photo courtesy of Unclaimed Baggage. Most travelers have at least once received the dreaded news that their checked luggage did not make it to their final destination. Airlines have gotten better at locating luggage for customers through increased technology. However, some passengers never get their luggage back. Domestic airlines sell the unclaimed luggage and items left on aircraft after having the items on-hand for 90 days.
A businessman named Doyle Owens started his business of purchasing lost luggage in 1970 when he purchased unclaimed baggage from a bus company. In 1978 Doyle partnered with his first airline, Eastern Airlines. He purchased the airline's unclaimed luggage and then resold the contents inside. Today, Doyle's business, Unclaimed Baggage Center, has contracts with all domestic airlines. They operate out of a large, 50,000 square-foot warehouse located in Scottsboro, Alabama. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the center announced their new online store. The center prides themselves in being the only lost luggage store in the United States.
Package received from Unclaimed Baggage's online store. Photo courtesy of Nicole Lund.
Today, the Unclaimed Baggage Center occupies more than a block and includes a restaurant and a museum filled with rare finds. One rare discovery was the puppet Hoggle from the movie Labyrinth. Throughout the year, the center will host events. Last month, they threw a Memorial Day event that included live music, food trucks, and games. This Sunday, the store is celebrating Father's Day with a Doughnuts with Dad event. Unclaimed Baggage Center will be giving out free doughnuts and Starbucks coffee to customers.
Another fun incentive the store does to attract customers is a daily giveaway. The center receives hundreds of suitcases each day. The store chooses one lucky customer to open one of these bags every day. The customer has the opportunity to discover and keep the treasures that are inside.
The large selection of luggage at the center. Photo courtesy of Marc Bain.
Unclaimed Baggage Center enjoys giving back to the community. They strive to donate one item for every item they sell. Eyeglasses and wheelchairs are just a couple of the items the center donates to people in need. The center also donates an abundance of suitcases to those in need.
Many of the items sold at the center are brand new. Travelers tend to go shopping when they are on vacation. Thus, brand new clothing, accessories, and shoes are often found in the luggage that ends up at the store. Customers can also find a large array of luxury brands at the center or on their online store. In addition, electronics, such as laptops, headphones, tablets, and phones, are often left on aircraft or packed in checked luggage. These items are then listed at a discounted price. Next time you are in the market for a name brand item or electronic device, make sure to check out Unclaimed Baggage before making your purchase.