Southwest Airlines finds salvation for lost items


DALLAS – Have you ever wondered what happens to the books left in seat-back pockets, the jackets found in the gate area, or the children’s toys left onboard the plane? All these items are kept at each airport facility for five days in hopes they will be claimed by their owners, while our Southwest Airlines Baggage Employees act as detectives to hunt down the owners.

If the lost articles are not claimed within five days, the items are shipped to the Southwest Airlines Central Baggage Service facility in Dallas, where Employees sort them and make a second attempt to reunite the lost items with owners. For example, Southwest Baggage Employees frequently reference books and online resources to locate owner information in high-tech devices, such as laptops and cell phones. Once all these tactics are exhausted, the Airline has no choice but to find a new home for the unclaimed goods.

Southwest Airlines has teamed up with The Salvation Army to donate items that are not claimed for an extended period of time and sell them in their Metroplex area thrift stores. Thousands of coats, books, cell phones, gloves, and various other items will be donated monthly to the Salvation Army for their local Dallas/Fort Worth Salvation Army facilities. Prior to The Salvation Army relationship, Southwest “salvaged” the unclaimed baggage and lost items to a warehouse facility. The new process provides a charitable way for the Airline to donate the items back to the community.

“We do everything in our power to reunite these lost items with their owners, but when items such as jackets, cell phones, umbrellas, and other various items are not claimed, it is up to us to determine their future,” said Laura Adams, Southwest Airlines Director of Central Baggage Services. “By working with a partner such as The Salvation Army, we are able to give back to the community and find a productive use for these unclaimed items.”

In the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, The Salvation Army provides 43 different services to help make life better for needy individuals and families. Services include: substance abuse treatment, homeless shelters, life-skills classes, non-perishable food pantry, Christmas gifts for children, domestic violence prevention programs, emergency financial assistance, child care, after-school programs, summer day camps, senior citizens services, and low-cost youth sports leagues.