ARIZONA NEWS

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.

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