You can buy someone’s lost luggage

There are hundreds of thousands of suitcases that get lost every year, but where do they go?

In America, the Unclaimed Baggage Centre in Alabama receives 800,000 visitors per year and is, incredibly, the state’s biggest tourist attraction. Its 40,000 square foot shop has many departments full of unclaimed baggage, from womenswear to electronics and shoes to handbags. Who knows what you might find!

But don’t worry, you don’t have to go to Alabama to get a lost luggage bargain, in Britain you might find lost luggage at a few auction houses.

British Airways sells its unclaimed luggage to Greasbys in Tooting which is in south west London. Here, auctions take place every Tuesday at 10.30am. Viewing is held on Monday to give you a chance to see what you could bid on, however, you only get to see the outside of the bag and the contents are a mystery until you place the winning bid! Who knows what you might find? A bunch of old scruffy clothes, or some beautifully expensive jewellery, it’s all a guess!

Lonely bags from Gatwick can end up in Guildford at Wellers Auctions and Bristol Commercial Valuers & Auctioneers and Hertfordshire Auctions contend with unwanted baggage from Luton Airport.

Most auction houses, including the ones listed above don’t have allotted airport auctions so it would be advisable to check their website for the next scheduled lost baggage auction.

But why buy lost luggage?

Some people might try and make some money out of the bags by selling the contents on places like ebay or even a car boot sale. Many make a profit – a good way for some extra money to go towards your next holiday. However, this is of course never guaranteed and you could be out of pocket if the contents of your winning bag lacked in saleability.

Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance that covers you if your possessions are lost, stolen, damaged or delayed. If the airline loses your luggage and won’t reimburse you, you may have a claim under your insurance policy. Providing you have reported the loss or damage to the airline and obtained a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) form or its equivalent within 24 hours you may not be out of pocket. Ensure you check your travel insurance policy covers you for the correct value of your contents and keep all purchase receipts to support your claim.