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Girl reunited with beloved teddy bear lost in chaos of deadly Florida airport shooting

When a man opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport lost and found last week, a terrified little girl scrambled to get to safety with her family. But she left behind her best friend of 10 years — a teddy bear named Rufus.

Ten-year-old Courtney Gelinas had just returned from a Caribbean cruise with her family and was waiting to board a flight home when police say Esteban Santiago began firing his handgun at travelers near the baggage claim, CNN reported.

Courtney and her family were caught up in the chaos that ensued at the Fort Lauderdale Airport lost and found
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Auckland Airport lost and found property mounts up

Karen O'Meara is Auckland Airports access systems administrator, who helps process lost property.

Karen O’Meara is Auckland Airports access systems administrator, who helps process lost property.

Just how do you lose your false teeth?

What about your mobility scooter, microwave or vacuum cleaner? They’re just some of the unusual items left behind at Auckland Airport.

The more travellers cross our borders, the bigger the airport’s lost property office becomes. It started off as one shelf – now it’s a large room with floor-to-ceiling custom-designed sliding shelves to optimise space.

It also has a safe for found money, licences and passports and lockable storage cupboards for electronics and jewellery in another room.

Skygate security manager Fia Tauvela says the false teeth are the most unusual thing he has seen come through the office.

“And we have had preserved snakes in a container left behind in check-in.There are some strange things that come through.”

The most common items are electronics, jewellery, neck cushions, keys, wallets, passports and hand luggage. They are found in the check-in areas, the arrivals hall, cafes, toilets, terminals, in trolleys or in the carparks.

The office must hold on to each item for three months regardless of what it is. The only exceptions are perishables which are disposed of.

“Even one shoe we have to keep because it may mean a lot to somebody,” Tauvela says.

“We had a case of an old teddy bear, which people would normally throw away but turned out the little girl that it belonged to couldn’t sleep because she had had it since she was a baby.

“The parents couldn’t believe that we had it stored away.”

But in reality there is a very low percentage of reconciliation with the owners, Tauvela says.

“I suppose when you have 16 million people passing through the airport every year, the potential to find owners is a lot harder.”

Once the three months are up, all valuable items are sent to the police and customs auctions and the money raised goes to charity.

“All the bags, clothes, walking sticks and umbrellas are giving to charity and are picked up every Friday.”

The airport selects a charity and keeps it for several years before changing. Currently it is Crosspower Ministries Trust in Otara.

Go to http://www.airportslostandfound.com/report-lost-property if you have lost any items at the airport.


Airport staff have a strict process to follow after finding an item.

“Everything that is left unattended, even a sleeping bag or anything like that, we don’t just say it’s a sleeping bag and pick it up,” Tauvela says.

It starts as an “unattended item” and staff call for the owner over the intercom. If the owner doesn’t respond, a detector dog is called in.

“We have to treat it as suspicious, it’s just the way the airport environment is. We have to call for an explosive detector dog to come and check it, to make sure it’s safe. Once cleared it becomes found property and then comes to us and is logged in system.”

You could be in for a shock when collecting your lost property… a fee of up to £50

AIR and rail passengers are being charged up to £50 for the return of their own lost property.LostProperty_350

Sunday Post investigation has revealed travellers are being forced to shell out to retrieve their own items – sometimes more than they are actually worth.

Lost property services have become a major industry in the UK, with most passengers carrying mobile phones or other expensive technology, not to mention the countless coats, bags and umbrellas that are absent-mindedly left behind.

And it seems many in the transport trade are cashing in, charging finders’ fees for reuniting items with their rightful owners.

Some of the highest tariffs can be seen at our major airports and train stations.

Edinburgh Airport has a sliding scale, with the most expensive items attracting a £20 admin fee. For small things such as books and neck pillows, it’s £5, a handbag or rucksack will set you back £7.50 and for suitcases, mobiles or cameras, passengers need to pay a tenner.

But commuters losing a laptop, tablet or piece of jewellery will be asked to stump up £20.

Charges are comparable with train stations Glasgow Central, Edinburgh Waverley and Manchester Piccadilly, which have banded categories, ranging in reclaim costs from £3 for keys, gloves and pushchairs to a pricey £20 for computers and video cameras.

At Aberdeen and Glasgow airports, passengers face a bill of £8 and £7 respectively to get any item of lost property back, regardless of its value. And at Prestwick, it’s £4.

In the north of England, Newcastle airport requests £7 in exchange for lost property and one Sunday Post reader in Blackpool was recently asked to pay £20 to retrieve a bracelet at Manchester Airport – the same price she paid for it!

“It’s ridiculous,” the former teacher said. “The bracelet wasn’t expensive, but it had a sentimental value. I was over the moon when the attendant on the desk said it had been found.

“But I almost fell over when he said I could only have it back if I paid £20. I mean, paying for your own items? I’ve never heard of anything like it! Surely this service should be covered in the price of a ticket.”

Some operators, on the other hand, charge nothing at all. At Dundee and Inverness Airports, if you can prove it’s yours, you can have it back, for nothing.

And while ScotRail’s website says the organisation “sometimes charges a small fee” to return items, staff joked “a packet of biscuits” would be a reasonable exchange.

Sally Francis, senior writer at MoneySavingExpert.com, says that’s the way it should be.

She added: “It’s outrageous you’re charged for mistakenly leaving something on a train or at the airport – it’s taking advantage of human error.

“For many, the relief of finding a missing item is likely to mean you hand over the cash without thinking twice, especially when it’s cheaper than buying a replacement.”

Operators defended the charges, stating they are necessary to cover the cost of providing the service.

Major airports and train stations tend to outsource lost property services as the volume of items which need to be accounted for.

Luggage-Point, the company sub-contracted to deal with lost property at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester airports, claims its charges are industry standard across the UK, but prices at Glasgow Airport are lower because of a “different commercial relationship”.

Founder Carole Stewart said: “We handle in excess of 3,000 customer inquiry telephone calls per week.

“We also have utility bills, pay rent to the airports we operate in, invest in improvements to the service and spend an enormous amount of time in ensuring lost property is handled, stored and attempted to be repatriated efficiently with a fully insured service.

“We are very proactive when it comes to attempting to re-unite passengers with their items and this is what separates us from other airports and providers.”

A spokeswoman for the ScotRail Alliance said: “We do not charge administration fees at any of our stations with lost property services, with the exception of Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley.

“Lost property services at these stations are operated separately as part of a cross-border contract covering larger mainline stations used by multiple train operators.

“As part of this UK-wide contract, which is administered by a company called Excess Baggage on behalf of Network Rail, an administration fee is charged for the recovery of lost property.”

ScotRail operates its own lost property office at Queen Street where no charge is made. accident.

Local tech company to sell PHL’s lost-and-found items

Municibid, a Center City tech company that develops an online auction platform for the public sector, has started selling the items passengers leave behind at the Philadelphia Airport.

Some of the items currently on the auction block include a Magic Bullet blender, a chess set, and a random trophy – everything has at least one bid.

Greg Berry, Municibid’s CEO, said the items usually have to sit in the lost-and-found for a year or so before they’re eligible for sale.

From what we gather, the Philadelphia airport lost and found does a good job to make the item available to the people who actually lost it,” Berry said. “Most people do call and it is there, but then they don’t come and pick it up. Maybe they lost it and they’re in some other country, or they just don’t care enough about it.”

Municibid services about 1,700 government agencies, ranging from big cities like Philadelphia to small towns of only a few hundred residents. Berry said about 60-70 percent of buyers are other businesses, 10-20 percent individuals and 10 percent other government agencies.

The tech company — which profits from an 8 percent fee on every sale, paid by the buyer — also maintains several other Philadelphia departments in addition to the airport

Berry said his platform stands out from much-larger competitor eBay in its simplistic user experience and niche market. It also provides more detailed purchaser data, as many government agencies must ensure their employees aren’t partaking in the auctions, and a more engaged customer-service team.

“We utilize technology greatly, it allows us to run very efficiently,” Berry said. “We have designed a platform easy to use on the seller side and the buyer side. It cuts down support requests to a very minimal amount. Myself and my chief operating officer Mike Bianchini, we both worked in government at one point. From that aspect, we understand what’s important to them and their workflow.”

Municibid only employs 10 full-timers and part-timers, so that sleek UX is essential toward minimizing customer confusion.

The Airline Lost Your Luggage. Now What?

Young couple in an airport.

The absolute worst thing that can happen to you when you arrive at the airport after a long trip is waiting at the luggage carousel and watching it stop as you stand there empty-handed. The airline has lost your bags and you’re stranded in a foreign country with no toothbrush, no shampoo, and no clothing. I had the misfortune of living through this catastrophe on a recent trip, and it’s not fun.

Here’s what you can do if it happens to you.

Report Your Loss Right Away

In every airport, there will be a luggage lost and found counter. They are usually located right next the baggage carousels and are typically well-marked. As soon as you realize that you made it to your destination but your luggage did not, head to the lost and found area to make a claim.

Make sure you bring your baggage ticket as they will need to enter it in the system. They will usually go on the radio and contact the luggage handling staff at the airport to see if your bags were accidentally left somewhere.

If you’re lucky, your bag is sitting on the tarmac or in the transit area and you’ll get it back within an hour or so. If not, you’ll have to file a lost luggage claim. The staff will give you a form to fill out with your name, home address, hotel address, passport number, phone number, luggage description, and baggage tag number as well as a brief description of what was in your bag.

They will then photocopy your luggage tag, your passport, and the information you gave them and hand you a piece of paper with a reference number.

At this time you can leave the airport and head to your hotel. The airline will search for your bag and call or text you when it is found. When they find your bag, they should send it to your hotel or wherever you are staying at the time.

Check the Status

If, after 24 hours or more, you still haven’t heard from the airline, go online to the airline’s website and click on the “Lost Luggage” section. Enter your reference number and last name and check the status of your claim.

Follow Up

Most airlines will update your status as soon as they find your luggage, but sometimes they can be slow and unreliable. Some people have had to go without their bags for months, while others never saw their precious luggage again.

Go on the airline’s website and look for a customer service number. Call them and navigate the automated telephone menu until you get to a luggage lost and found representative. Give them your reference number and tell them your situation. Ask them to do everything they can to find your bag and also tell them how long you’ll be at the hotel. Make your situation sound as dire as possible to try to encourage them to actively search for your bag.

Keep the Claim Updated

Make sure that all of the information that you gave is correct and remains valid. If you check out of your hotel and move to a new one, call or go online and change the information on the claim so that the airline can properly contact you when your bag is found. Even if you move to another city or country, they should courier your bag to you as soon as possible.

Go Shopping

The US Department of Transportation has laws in place that help to hold the airline responsible for your lost luggage and the contents of your bag. While the airline is technically required to reimburse you for any losses, the individual airline regulations vary greatly.

You can, however, be certain that you will be covered for your essentials. Contact the airline and ask them how much essential spending you will be covered for. Then go out and buy yourself some new underwear, shampoo, deodorant, and clothing. Keep all the receipts for these purchases because you will be asked to submit them later.

Sometimes the “Maximum Claim Amount” can be found on the back of your luggage ticket. This is the amount that you can spend on essentials and emergencies. For permanently lost luggage, there are different amounts you can be reimbursed.


No airline is going to willingly offer you the full reimbursement for your troubles or for the value of your lost items. You will have to negotiate, complain, and protest. Make sure you talk to a supervisor when making your claims and if you had anything of sentimental value in the bag, make sure you tell them. Also request that they refund you your checked baggage fee. The airline shouldn’t be paid $25 for losing your luggage!

You can also ask to be reimbursed in other ways. You may be able to complain your way into a free flight or at least an upgrade into first class on your next scheduled flight with the airline.

Use Social Media

Some airlines don’t make the claim process very easy. In this situation, you can take to social media and try a good old fashioned smear campaign. Mention the airline and explain your situation on any social media accounts you have and be sure to @ them so that they will see the posts.

No company wants to have the story of your lost luggage go viral on social media. You may be able to speed up the claim process or land yourself some free flights by posting about your situation on Twitter.

When to Give Up

According to the DOT’s latest Air Travel Consumer Report, 2.9 in 10,000 passengers experience delayed, damaged, or lost baggage. They estimate less than 2% of those passengers actually end up with their luggage permanently lost. If you are one of those unlucky people, it’s time to make a lost luggage claim.

Claims for reimbursement will have to be backed up by receipts and proof of payment. When you go out shopping for emergency clothing and essentials, make sure to keep all of your receipts and when you claim the items that were permanently lost in your bag, try to find as many receipts as you can to back up your claims of what was in the luggage.

Before 2009 when DOT tightened restrictions on lost luggage claims, you would have had to kiss your luggage goodbye and never be reimbursed more than the cost of your essential emergency spending. Nowadays, the airlines are held responsible for “all reasonable, actual, and verifiable expenses related to baggage loss, damage, or delay.”

Technically, the per passenger maximum for domestic flights in the U.S. is around $3,400, but getting that amount would be like winning the lost luggage lottery. You’re more likely to be refunded a small portion of what you lost. For international flights, you may only be reimbursed around $1,600. It is unlikely that you’ll ever receive these full amounts unless you can prove that your bag was indeed carrying more than that value.

Even if you can prove that you were carrying $3,400 worth of stuff in your lost baggage, the airline will only pay you a fraction of that amount. They are only required to pay the “depreciated value” of your items, so expect to take a major loss.

Contact Your Insurance and Credit Card Provider

Some travel insurance policies will cover you for lost baggage. This can help to top up the amount the airline agrees to pay. Contact your travel insurance provider and ask about their lost luggage policy. If you paid for the flight with your credit card, contact the card issuer and ask about baggage insurance. Many credit cards will help to cover you for your losses.

Get Your Bag Back

Hopefully you didn’t have to go through every step in this article and somewhere in this process you were contacted by the airline and informed that they found your bag. If this is the case, you can either return to the airport to pick up the luggage yourself, or have it delivered to the address that you entered on your claim. Some airlines will try to make your pay for the delivery (believe it or not). If this is the case, negotiate and try your best to have them cover the cost. When your bags are safe and sound back home, it might be wise to invest in a GPS luggage tracker in the event this should ever happen again.

Has the airline ever lost your luggage? Did you get it back?

Norfolk airport might shorten lost and found times

The Norfolk airport’s lost and found office proves this: If you can travel with it, you can lose it. Ipods, laptops, headphones, even pool cues end up misplaced or just left behind.

Airport workers try to find the owners, but that’s not always easy.

Eventually, the lost loot is unloaded at auction. But now that could happen a lot faster.

The Norfolk City Council is set to vote on an ordinance that would slash the time the airport must hold on to travelers’ misplaced items before sending them to auction. The ordinance is part of the council’s Tuesday agenda.

Now, the airport has to keep the lost and found items for six months, in hopes that an owner shows up.

If the city council agrees, the airport will only have to store it two months, before sending it to the highest bidder.

So if you think you lost something important on your last trip but didn’t feel any urgency to go check, you might want to schedule a search a little sooner.

Alaska Airlines Loses Its Own CEO’s Luggage


Not even airline executives are safe from having a bad flight.

Last week, Alaska Airlines president and CEO, Brad Tilden, got on stage at an airline gathering in Washington, D.C. and according to a report in the LA Times, told the audience that his checked bag had been misplaced during the flight and was delivered to him a day late.

It’s happened before, too. The airline exec said the last time his airline misplaced his bag was 25 years ago.

Reached for comment, Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said, “Brad often will often check his carry-on bag on busy flights to make room for customers to stow their bags in the overhead bins. While very rare since we implemented our baggage service guarantee, there are times when we misplace a bag and this was one of those times.” She said his bag was ultimately delivered within 24 hours after he landed on September 28th.  Continue reading

Polish fireman returns huge diamond ring to Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton got lucky in Poland.

The 34-year-old socialite lost an enormous diamond-studded ring on an airport shuttle bus in the Polish city of Lodz last week. But she won’t be parted from the jewel for long: an honest fireman who found it is returning it to her.

Ewa Bienkowska, the lodz airport lost and found spokeswoman, said Hilton lost the ring on Friday as she was leaving the city after taking part in a fashion event. Two days later a fireman who works at the airport found it on the floor of the bus. At first he assumed it belonged to a flight attendant, though none reported missing a ring.

Soon after he noticed Hilton on TV wearing the ring and contacted the organizers of the fashion event.

Brisbane airport lost property attracts $25,000 at auction

Charities have profited from the misery of Brisbane Airport’s travellers, after $25,000 worth of lost belongings went under the hammer.

Brisbane Airport visitor information centre manager Jenni Greaves, who ran the airport’s ambassador program, said there was always variety among the items that turned up in the lost property collection.

“Nothing surprises us anymore, and while there isn’t much of a second hand market for false teeth or prosthetic limbs which do sometimes get left behind, we find that second hand laptops, mobile phones, cameras and jewellery are bought at auction very quickly,” she said. Continue reading

Family Claims Delta Air Lines Lost Cat At San Diego Airport


Over the past several years, Delta AirLines Lost and Found has been at the center of numerous tragic stories of regarding pet transports. Now, a family who was flying their cat on the airline from San Diego to Baltimore is hoping their tale of loss ends on a happy note. 

ABC 10 News reports that an hour after a San Diego couple dropped off 5-year-old Mickey at the Delta cargo office Friday night for his trip to be reunited with his owner – the couple’s 12-year-old niece who recently moved out of state – he was missing.
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