Lost something at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport? Here’s how to recover it

Feb 13, 2023, 4:15 AM | Updated: 7:45 am
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)...
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

PHOENIX — If you lost items while traveling through Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, here is the process for how belongings are stowed and can be recovered.

Travelers who have left items have 30 days to make a claim to the TSA Contact Center, the airline they flew with or the city of Phoenix before unclaimed items are sent away, Larry Cummings, transportation security officer in the lost and found department, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday.

What they will want to mention regarding the item includes: the date, the checkpoint that they were at, a good description of the lost items, an email address and a phone number. If travelers are unable to remember the checkpoint, the name of the airlines will suffice, he said.

“When a passenger leaves something at the checkpoint, a TSO or an officer takes that item back to the security supervisor’s desk and at that point in time, the supervisor goes ahead and opens up … a report on what the item is,” Cummings explained.

All lost items are put into categories, such as electronics, jewelry or clothing, at which point they are dated, labeled and stored in plastic bags inside cabinets, Cummings said. Some belongings are recovered from washrooms, restaurants, on an outside curb or on a sky train.

On average, Sky Harbor takes in about 3,000 items per month, but not all items are held by the TSA, the TSO said.

About 1,800 items are sent to the TSA, while the rest go to the city of Phoenix or the individual airlines’ lost and found departments.

Among the most forgotten items at the airport are glasses, belts and clothing, with an average of 300 glasses taken to the lost and found each month.

For unclaimed belongings, the airport begins recycling them after 30 days to the state of Arizona and Washington D.C., Cummings said. Some items are also destroyed.

Items such as clothing, shoes and hats head to the state, while items with information on them like laptops, cell phones and tablets are packaged up and sent to Washington. Licenses, credit cards and COVID-19 cards are put into a shredder.

The last Washington drop, which occurs about every three months, included 40 laptops, 80 tablets and approximately 35 smart phones, according to Cummings.

“There’s a significant amount of money that’s wrapped up in unclaimed items at the airport,” Cummings said.

As for lost luggage, all contents within it are immediately taken out once it reaches the facility, categorized and left in the lost and found for the 30-day period.

“We don’t have the facility to track a lot of people down. We take what information we have and we go with it, we try to reunite people with their property,” Cummings said.

“That’s probably one of the hardest things of this job when you have to tell people ‘no’ you don’t have it. One of the happiest things is when you can reunite somebody with their property and they’re all excited and happy about it.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM Taylor Tasler contributed to this story.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Diversified Partners Rendering Photo)...

New Gilbert development to include 2-story Starbucks

Construction is set to begin next week on an 11-acre project that will bring a flagship two-story Starbucks to the East Valley. 
13 hours ago
West Clear Creek Wilderness...

Woman falls to death off cliff in Arizona wilderness area

A 44-year-old woman fell to her death from a cliff in an Arizona wilderness area this week, authorities said Wednesday.
13 hours ago
(KTAR News Photo/Taylor Tasler)...

Here’s why gas prices are rising in metro Phoenix, across Arizona

Gas prices are surging in metro Phoenix and across Arizona and a fuel industry expert says there is a main reason for it.
13 hours ago
(Twitter Photo/@joss_berry)...
Kevin Stone

Aide to Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs resigns after controversial tweet

An aide to Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs has resigned after creating a controversy with a tweet in the wake of the Nashville shooting.
13 hours ago
(Arizona Department of Transportation Photo)...
Associated Press

Investigators cite driver fatigue as cause of deadly 2021 Phoenix milk tanker crash

A milk truck-tanker crash that killed four people and injured several others on a Phoenix freeway in 2021 was caused by driver fatigue, U.S. transportation investigators said Tuesday.
13 hours ago
(KTAR News Photo/Jeremy Schnell)...
Taylor Tasler

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs speaks on prison priority, problems and plans for reform

In an exclusive interview, Katie Hobbs spoke on why she has made state prisons a priority, problems she's encountered and plans for reforming the system.
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo by Michael Matthey/picture alliance via Getty Images)...
Cox Communications

Valley Boys & Girls Club uses esports to help kids make healthy choices

KTAR’s Community Spotlight focuses on the Boys & Girls Club of the Valley and the work to incorporate esports into children's lives.
(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Lost something at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport? Here’s how to recover it