Unclaimed Luggage Auctions – A Beginner’s Guide to Lost Bag Sales

The word is out: the next hot place to look for hidden loot and left behind treasure will be unclaimed luggage auctions. Creators of Storage Wars and Storage Wars: Texas, A&E TV is expanding out into new auctioning territory with an upcoming show titled: Luggage Wars.

Just as storage auctions have been running for years out of public view, the hunting grounds of the privileged few “in the know”, luggage auctions are not a new phenomenon either.

But if A&E’s successful track record can suggest any trends, once they start pushing out episodes revolving around this unique way to make some extra cash, chances are the public is going to respond in droves.

Why Bother With Lost Luggage Auctions?

There are a number of exciting dynamics that are particular to the world of baggage auctions, which will be sure to entice anyone on the lookout for a good score and a chance at quick profits.

For one thing, the nature of the items that people bring with them in their personal luggage is more precious: while you might find a bunch of undesirable junk stuffed in the back of a storage locker, you’re less likely to find junk in personal carry-on bags. You’re much more likely to find goods like computers, laptops, jewelry, and expensive electronics.

As this video explains, however, there are already major forces, and established businesses, that have been operating in this lost luggage space for years. The Unclaimed Luggage Center in Scottsdale, Arizona is the country’s largest outlet for misplaced airline baggage:

At 20-80% discount on most items in this massive city-block wide warehouse, it’s no wonder that so many folks are willing to make the trip in search of valuable commodities. Everything from jewelry to clothing to electronics and collectible memorabilia finds its way onto the shelves at the Unclaimed Luggage Center.

By why aren’t the original owners knocking down the doors, steaming mad to reclaim their misplaced belongings? Everything that eventually makes it to the center has been entirely abandoned and unclaimed for so long that airlines had to do something with them other than just keep trying to find the rightful owners.

How Lost Luggage Selling Works

Here’s the full rundown:

  1. Bags get misplaced by airlines (or left by travelers) somewhere.
  2. Airlines’ luggage reclaim departments work for 1-3 months to try to track down the goods’ rightful owners and reunite them with their luggage.
  3. Failing all attempts to contact or mail back the personal items, the airline will pay any claim attached to the lost luggage.
  4. The Unclaimed Luggage Center has long standing contracts with major airline carriers to purchase these bags, sight unseen. They take the risk on all bags, and lose out on some, because they can afford to play the numbers game and stock their shelves full.
  5. The teams at the center go to work carefully unpacking, sorting, taking inventory of, pricing and cleaning everything in the luggage they receive.
  6. The goods are placed on their respective shelves and anyone is free to walk through and browse to their hearts’ content.

Now, should you find yourself in Arizona, you might try your hand at buying up the most discounted items in the warehouse and re-list them on eBay for a slightly higher price.