By Erin Shields
U.S. News got a behind-the-scenes look at the Transportation Security Administration’s Lost and Found operation at Washington Dulles International Airport, and chatted with TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein and Transportation Security Officer William Covieo to learn more about the process. You may be surprised at the sorts of things travelers have abandoned.
Dozens of sunglasses
You may think only a handful of shades get left behind at security checkpoints, but think again: it’s more like dozens daily. Sunglasses and eyeglasses – scores of them per month – are among the most common items forgotten at security.
Belts on belts on belts
Black belts, brown belts, tan belts – you name it, the TSA Lost and Found office at Dulles had it. If you’re not in the TSA PreCheck line, you’re required to remove your belt to pass through security. Next time, just remember to retrieve it from the bin after your screening.
Passengers remove car keys, house keys and key fobs (not the easiest or cheapest things to replace) from their pockets to pass through the scanners, and sometimes forget to pick them up again. Among the types of car key fobs Covieo has collected at Dulles? Mercedes and Audi vehicle fobs, which can cost anywhere from $50 to upward of $300 to replace.
An acoustic guitar, secured tightly in its case, got separated from its owner at a security checkpoint at Dulles.
Laptops and tablets
You’re thinking … people forget laptops and iPads? Are you kidding me? Farbstein explained when fliers are moving quickly through the security checkpoint they often stack bins on top of one another and hurriedly return them, forgetting their flat device is in the bottom bin. A tip? Tape a business card to your laptop or tablet, and that way TSA can contact you if you’ve left it behind.
A Beatles record
This unopened vinyl Beatles “Abbey Road” album was abandoned at a Dulles TSA checkpoint sometime this summer.
A single men’s shoe
Sometimes clothing items fall out of carry-ons through security, which may have been the case with this single black shoe, Farbstein said.
A female Naval captain’s uniform
A Naval uniform seems like something that would be sorely missed if left behind at a TSA checkpoint. It was – its owner reached out to claim it and the uniform is awaiting pickup, said Coveio.
A brand-new Coach purse
This Coach purse (most of which retail for hundreds of dollars) was still in its original bronze box gift wrapping.
Dozens of carry-on bags and backpacks
This furry children’s carry-on suitcase was just one of several carry-on bags and backpacks that were left at checkpoints this summer.
Surprisingly common, according to Farbstein, canes of all shapes and sizes are often left behind at TSA checkpoints. A senior moment, perhaps?
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