I lost a bag on a flight from BKK -> ARN -> CPH two weeks ago. I immediately filed a report at CPH when the bag hadn't arrived after more than an hour of waiting. Since then there has been no updates of the bags whereabouts on the tracing website.
Theft is one possibility, but there seem to be many cases where luggage is lost "forever" and then end up at an auction.
As a layman, the only reasonable explanation (besides theft) for the bag being missing for more than a few days seems to be that the luggage tag has somehow fallen off the bag. If the luggage still has a tag and is sitting somewhere in an airport - be it at BKK, ARN or CPH - surely someone would have noticed it by now and scanned the tag?
However, when reading about why luggage gets lost, and especially seeing photos of lost luggage at auctions, it seems that it's entirely possible for a bag to still have its tag with barcodes intact and yet be "missing".
How can this be? Surely the system must be built in such a way that a luggage handler can scan the bag tag at any time and either find the missing luggage report or the contact details of the passenger? Or is the luggage handling identification system a lot dumber than I imagine? I read somewhere that "after 3 days the barcode is reused for other passengers luggage", which sounds too stupid to be true.
It would be interesting to know how it works from someone who has insight into how the system works in real life.