Imagine a situation: you fly from Los Angeles to Miami with checked luggage, arrive in Miami, and proceed to go straight to your hotel without ever picking up your bag. Assuming you never end up remembering about your luggage (for whatever reason), what would likely happen next? Would the airline try to email/call you or would they just shrug off and destroy your luggage after a few days?

I’m primarily interested in what will happen on US flights but international answers might be good too.

1 Answer 1


First of all, how many drinks did you have on that flight?

But as this is the US, if there is a dollar to be made, there is someone trying to make it. Thus your luggage is likely to end up on someplace like Unclaimed Baggage which states:

The nation's only retailer of lost luggage

All bags go through an extensive 3-month tracing process to be reunited with their owner.

So someone will try and contact you, and after 3 months you can attempt to buy your belongings back.

This place is headquartered in Alabama, but I am sure I have driven past something similar in North Carolina.

  • In Germany, unclaimed luggage is not destroyed, but put up for auction after a few months. Source: A german TV show that holds an auction every year and has people open the luggage in the studio.
    – Sabine
    Jan 16 at 8:57

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