The op shop that gets your lost airport luggage

If you are unfortunate enough to have lost your bag during your travels you will know the frustration of trying to locate it. More often than not we are reunited with our beloved possessions and we happily carry on with our holiday, but where does the unclaimed baggage end up?

You'd expect them to be put in the trash or even in a warehouse to collect dust, but Alabama's Unclaimed Baggage Centre (UBC) ensures orphaned items have a second life. From electronics and designer clothing to fine jewellery and wedding dresses, these unclaimed items arrive at a processing facility to be sorted, cleaned and priced up ready to be sold on and loved once again.


UBC is basically a giant thrift store dedicated to unclaimed airline baggage goods in need for a second chance at life. With over two million pounds of goods arriving at the thrift store every year, you can imagine some of the interesting items they've received since it opened in 1970.

The weirdest items UBC has collected include a naval guidance system, a Versace gown fresh off the runway, a full suit of armour, a NASA space shuttle camera, a range of Egyptian artefacts in a Gucci suitcase, and a Platinum Rolex valued at over $60,000. Their catchphrase - 'you never know what you'll find' - really resonates true!

The UBC team also give back to those in need through their 'Reclaimed for Good' philosophy. More than half the merchandise that doesn't make it to the retail floor is donated to local, national and global charities.

Broken wheelchairs are rebuilt for handicapped people, clothing, linen and household items are donated to the underprivileged, eyeglasses are sent off to sight programs, handpainted 'luv luggage' suitcases are gifted to foster children, and millions of dollars worth of medical equipment is sent to developing countries.


With over 7000 new items daily, you'll surely find something useful, interesting or lovable to add to your own collection. But be sure to put a day aside to visit this unique thrift store - the entire facility is the size of a city block, with two stores, multiple levels in each and a total of 40,000 square feet of floor space. It's fair to say you'll leave feeling both overwhelmed and amazed!

Images: ABC News &