JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla – Ever wonder what happens to all the luggage that is lost or unclaimed across the country? A company called Unclaimed Baggage reclaims all lost luggage from airlines and other travel businesses to resell, repurpose or recycle the contents.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the store hit the road in May for a 50-state tour that will go until the month of September. The storefront is based in Scottsboro, Alabama, but on Tuesday, the “Found Treasures Mobile Museum” made a stop at the Seawalk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach.
It rolled out some of its classic experiences, including what it calls “The Baggage Experience.” Guests open an orphaned suitcase, which could contain anything from gym clothes to a live rattlesnake.
“It’s happened before,” Unclaimed Baggage writes.
Other experiences include “Finders Keepers,” a game inspired by “Let’s Make a Deal” where guests can win prizes found in orphaned luggage.
Typically, the store waits about 90 days before purchasing the lost luggage. This gives the airlines enough time to do everything they can to get the luggage back to their rightful owners.
“They are successful over 99.5% of the time in reuniting these lost bags,” Sonni Hood, spokesperson for Unclaimed Baggage, told News4JAX. “Make sure you’re labeling those bags, make sure when you’re in a hurry, trying to run to catch a flight, you’re not leaving your phone or your AirPods in your seat in the airplane.”
Also traveling with the team is “Hugo,” a replica of the 1965 Chevrolet pickup truck that picked up the company’s first batch of luggage in 1970. The vehicle is named after founder Hugo Doyle Owens, who borrowed the truck to purchase the unclaimed load of baggage.
Unclaimed Baggage is one of Alabama’s top tourist attractions and makes charitable contributions of products and donations to organizations in need.