Unclaimed Baggage Centre in Scottsboro, Alabama

Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama - photo by Rob McFarland

Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama – photo by Rob McFarland

Traveller, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia – Oct 27, 2018

Thanks to advances in bag-tracking technology, the amount of checked luggage that fails to reach its destination is now less than half a per cent. But given airlines carried more than four billion bags last year, that still means more than 20 million bags went unclaimed. What happened to them? Where did they end up? The unexpected answer is Scottsboro, Alabama.

Located 165 kilometres northeast of Birmingham, the sleepy town of Scottsboro is home to the only store in the US that buys and sells unclaimed luggage. Every day thousands of bags arrive at the Unclaimed Baggage Centre to be inspected and sorted. Clothes deemed worthy of sale are cleaned in the state’s largest dry-cleaning facility (it launders 50,000 items a month) and all electronic items are tested and wiped of data. About 7000 good-as-new items are transferred daily to the centre’s nearby retail store, which covers an entire city block.

Read the rest of this story here.

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