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Travelers leave plenty behind at airport checkpoints

TNS Regional News • Jan 11, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Millions of Ohioans traveled during the holiday season, and some travelers unwittingly parted ways with their personal possessions as they passed through security checkpoints at the airport.

In November and December, air travelers left behind about 200 items at the Dayton International Airport’s security checkpoints, including two Apple iPhones, four other cell phones, five laptops, six scarves, seven pairs of sunglasses, 14 bracelets and 15 belts, according to the Transportation Security Administration’s daily lost and unclaimed inventory logs.

A holiday traveler a year ago left behind a personal check worth $2,300. Other travelers managed to misplace their bank cards and personal identification.

Some people return to the security checkpoints to retrieve their property. But most forgotten possessions are never claimed, and the items usually are donated to Goodwill Stores or destroyed, the inventory logs show.

“Often, we have no way of identifying who it belongs to, and nobody contacts us,” said Linda Hughes, spokeswoman for the Dayton airport.

Air travelers have a lot on their minds.

They have to get to the airport. They have to find parking. They often have to say farewell to loved ones.

Then they have to get their boarding passes and check their baggage. They need to get to the gate before their flights begin to board.

And the clock is ticking.

Travelers also must go through metal detectors and body scanners for security reasons.

Leave cheap and high-end items

During this process, passengers have to remove their jackets, shoes, jewelry and other items from their bodies and pockets.

In their haste, travelers at the Dayton airport have managed to leave behind all sorts of items, ranging from cheap accessories to high-end electronics and important personal documents.

In the last two months, security employees at the Dayton airport have recovered laser pointers, holiday ornaments, pocketbooks, sweaters, hats, belts, slippers, money, broaches, earrings, neck pillows, books, buckles, sunglasses and deodorant, the records show.

“People leave their jackets, eyeglasses, scarves, books and sometimes even laptops,” Hughes said.

Someone in December 2012 left a hefty personal check at the checkpoint. A month earlier, someone left behind their credit card. Someone else left a diamond-studded gold bracelet.

In the last two months, TSA workers at the Dayton airport also recovered four Ohio ID cards, an Oklahoma driver’s license, a school ID badge, a passport and several birth certificates. They also recovered a Canadian motor insurance card.

Last month, TSA employees recovered an Ohio driver’s license that belongs to DaQuan Mays.

Mays, 20, a Trotwood-Madison High School graduate and a promising upcoming boxer, said he was flying out of Dayton on the first leg of his trip to Africa. He said he did not realize his identification was missing until he was in another state.

“I was rushing,” he said.

But he said he had his passport with him, and the loss did not cause much of an inconvenience. He said he will not need to retrieve his ID because it is cheap to replace.

But losing personal identification can be headache while traveling, especially if people need ID for return flights home, car rentals, hotel stays and credit card use. Lost clothing, jewelry and electronics can be expensive to replace.

3 months to reclaim items

Airport employees do their best to to reunite passengers with their lost property, Hughes said.

“They make announcements all the time saying, ‘If you’ve left this behind, please come back to the checkpoint to claim it,’” Hughes said.

But it can be very hard to identify to whom lost items belong, Hughes said.

Travelers have about three months to reclaim their possessions, after which time they are donated or thrown out, she said.

TSA employees have tossed out forgotten medications, lipstick, a fitness noodle, a knee-replacement card, gloves, ear phones, earrings and plenty of other items.

The $2,300 check was destroyed after unsuccessful attempts to contact its owner, the records show. The bank card and gift card were also destroyed after no one claimed them.

But the vast majority of items the TSA records on its lost and unclaimed logs end up being donated to Goodwill, according to the inventory documents for November and December 2012.

Items donated to Goodwill included an iPad, a GPS device, Bluetooth devices, cell phones, the diamond gold bracelet and many other electronics.

“Personally, I am somewhat surprised that so many people leave so many valuable items at the airport,” said Kim Bramlage, a spokeswoman for Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley. “I would have expected that, once folks realize they’ve left it, they would try their best to find and recover it.”

But Bramlage said Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley is thankful for the TSA’s donations, because they support more than 40 programs and services for people with disabilities and other needs.


Holiday travelers in late 2012 and 2013 left behind all sorts of items at the TSA checkpoint at the Dayton International Airport.

Examples of items the TSA recovered:

Apple iPad

Apple iPhones

Birth certificates


Car keys

Eye glasses

Fuzzy leather gloves


Laser pointer

Money clip

Ohio ID cards

Personal check for $2,300

Visa credit cards

Source: Transportation Security Administration’s Lost and Unclaimed Daily Inventory Record

Note: Records were for November and December 2012 and 2013


By Cornelius Frolik - Dayton Daily News, Ohio (MCT)

©2014 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

Visit the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) at www.daytondailynews.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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