Baggage Battles: Score Big During Airport Baggage Auctions

If you’ve ever experienced the agony of a delayed, mis-routed or lost bag while traveling, you’re not alone. A few years ago, I went on a snowboarding trip in South America. When we came home to the States, my suitcase of clothing came around on the conveyor belt but my snowboard bag was nowhere to be found. Fast-forward at least two hours of waiting in the lost baggage office of the airline and it turned out that my snowboard and equipment had landed itself in Asia.

While it did take an amazing amount of claims forms and phone calls to finally sort out the ordeal, I did manage to get my things back….four months later.

But what if I hadn’t been so lucky? What if my bag was one of the 2+ million bags that go missing every year in airports around the world? If those bags are clearly making their way into airports and onto airplanes, they must turn up somewhere, right?


Typically, that place is the unclaimed baggage division of any major airport. Bags can end up in this area because they don’t have a tag or ID on them (seriously, people?!), they are left behind on purpose or the original owner simply forgets to follow-up to learn where his or her bag might have turned up. In these cases, the bags are rounded up and sent off to various warehouses, distribution centers and businesses where they are auctioned off.

Make Money by Purchasing Unclaimed Luggage

If you’re not opposed to taking a bit of a gamble and have some extra money in your budget, you can score big at baggage auctions. Typically, bags are auctioned off starting at low prices. This is done because the majority of auctions require buyers to purchase the luggage contents unseen. Essentially, you need to decide up front if you want to take the risk of buying the piece of luggage simply by seeing the item’s exterior and perhaps picking it up/shaking it.

It’s definitely a gamble, but this gamble can pay off in a big way. Most bags sell for a fraction of the cost of the contents, which can be re-sold once you’re finished at the baggage option. Yes, there is the chance that the bag could end up being nothing more than a carrier for dirty underwear, but you don’t know if you don’t try!

If the idea of an auction where you have no idea what you’re buying isn’t your cup of tea, you can still reap some lost baggage rewards by visiting stores such as The Unclaimed Baggage Center where actual items recovered from unclaimed baggage are sold individually–and at handsome prices. Whether you keep the item for yourself, give it as a gift or turn around and re-sell it, there are plenty of ways to cash in on unclaimed baggage.

Good luck, Penny Hoarders!

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