Lonely Planet Writer

What happens to unclaimed baggage?

Have you ever been in a desolate airport terminal, the last person to get your luggage off a carousel, only to see a couple of random suitcases still circling hopefully when there is no obvious owner in sight?

Who do these bags belong to? Did someone get so excited about landing in a new city that they just belted for the airport doors without a second thought for their luggage? Are these abandoned cases an exercise in zen with their owners shucking them in favour of an unfettered journey?

Whatever the stories of suitcase abandonment, one company in Scottsboro, Alabama has taken these luggage lemons and decided to pour the world a big glass of lemonade.

At The Unclaimed Baggage Center, they buy unclaimed baggage by the truckload then price-tag it and put in on their never-ending shelves. Gucci bags? They got 'em. Fancy perfumes? No problem. Pants, jackets, cameras, all sorts of things. Even emeralds and suits of armour. And a Barbie doll stuffed with $500! People tote some kooky chattels around the world and a surprising portion end up here.

perfumeBut these cases aren't just opportunistically snatched by shifty staff in trench coats. After authorities have made every possible attempt to locate the owner of the stuff, to no avail, that's when Unclaimed Baggage Center buy them and shimmy the goods along to you.

Check it out - see what customers just bought or see some of the more unique items that have come their way. It's hypnotic, it's bargainic, and certainly not what you'd expect to find in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.