Ever wondered what happens to unclaimed luggage? We did, so we got the scoop for you, so you no longer have to wonder.

By Annabel Fuller

Losing your luggage in transit is the worst. Especially, if you’re on the way to your dream holiday; because wearing the same clothes for two weeks isn’t anyone’s idea of paradise.

There’s nothing lonelier than an airport when the luggage carousel is empty. I’d know I thought I had lost my luggage once.

Standing at the carousel watching the array of black bags pass by (who knew so many bags could look the same) I felt sadness as my bright white case, with pink bow failed to travel the conveyor belt.  Typically, it was at the worst time possible; I was going skiing and needless to say, my 2XU’s, thin jumper and Burks weren’t going to cut it. Jetlagged, I hounded the ground staff until my bag and I were reunited. Another passenger had mistakenly taken my clearly labelled ‘AF’ suitcase and left it unattended away from the carousel. Despite the immediate concern of unattended baggage, I was surprisingly emotional about the significance my luggage has to me.

Unsure if it was the concern for my prized possessions or just jetlag I felt a deep sadness for lost baggage. Thankfully, I didn’t part with my luggage, but for the 75,000 bags that are lost annually from Sydney airport alone, I wanted to discover how loving owners can reclaim their belongings.

In Australia, airports are required to store unclaimed items for 90 days before they must rid them. During this period the best way to reclaim your possessions is to contact the airline directly. Make sure you have your flight number and a clear description of the bag for the highest chance of reuniting. If the airline is unable to locate your bags call the departure and arrival airports. The majority of missing suitcases, out of airline control, fall from the baggage belt after check-in and are captured by nets.

If unlike me, you are emotionally detached from your luggage so seemingly don’t care about your bag circumnavigating the world without you or tragically you never manage to track down your suitcase does legally have to leave the airport after a 90-day stay.

Unclaimed items are auctioned, with the proceeds going to charity. But, for the majority of people who don’t want to cough up on my worn jumpers and faded jeans, items in fair condition are given directly to the charities to distribute to communities in need.

So, while you might miss your luggage, be persistent while your luggage is on holiday and it will likely make its way home to you. If not, rest assured it has been rehomed to help those in need.