What does the TSA do with all the stuff that is left behind in security checkpoints each year?
Answer: it auctions it.
Check out this interesting video that explains the process–
Allegedly, the money goes back into a general fund.
Just how much is left? At Detroit for example, the following was recovered last year–
- 158 laptops
- 59 cell phones
- ~700 pairs of glasses
I am surprised there were not more cell phones left behind!
How To Claim Lost Items
What happens if you leave an item behind at a TSA checkpoint and only discover it after your flight has departed? You have about six months before the TSA will auction the item off.
The TSA website lists contacts for lost and found by airport. Simply type in your airport code and a telephone number will come up. For example, here is Los Angeles:
Call the number listed and leave a message. If your item is found, you will receive a return phone call. Pick-up can be arranged in-person or if the item is of sufficient value shipping can be arranged (for a fee of course).
The best way to avoid ever leaving items behind it to triple check around you for missing items and perform a mental inventory count. I’m not one to talk about lost items, but I have made it a priority not to lose anything…further.