The strangest things left behind at airports


I’m really good at leaving stuff behind – I’ve fished my money out of the bin more than once, I’ve dropped my debit card several times, and I regularly used to lock my keys in the car.
That said, I’ve never left anything at the airport without being forced to, so this little list of gems is very much on the amusing side.

Unclaimed baggage center

Unclaimed Baggage Center (1)

Here are some of the strangest items filling the shelves of the Unclaimed Baggage Section:

A Canada goose

This one makes more sense than you might think: after all, geese can fly on their own – they don’t need to use aeroplanes for that. However, stuffed geese don’t move so freely, and this full-sized stuffed bird is still stuck at the Unclaimed Baggage Center Museum.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose (2)

13th century bronze plaques

These genuinely ancient bronze plaques hail from Nigeria. They were originally hung in King Oba’s palace, in the Benin kingdom. We all need a change of scene now and again.

Bronze Plaque

Bronze Plaque (3)

A full suit of armour

I’ve turned up to parties without a bottle of wine, but never to a joust without my suit of armour. Okay, this was just a replica of a 19th century suit…but still has the potential to ruin someone’s re-enactment.

Suit of armour

Suit of armour (4)

An aeroplane

Inception luggage: a plane within a plane? This remote controlled aeroplane measured approx. 1.5 x 2.4m…not the kind of thing to fall out of your pocket.

Remote controlled airplane

Remote controlled airplane (5)

A rattlesnake

This venomous snake was found alive and kicking (metaphorically). Fortunately it was found a suitable home before anyone came to any harm.


Rattlesnake (6)

A Tibetan Dung Chen

It’s hard to imagine how a 3m horn can be so easily overlooked, but stranger things have happened at sea. Personally, I can’t say I’ve ever stumbled on an enormous brass instrument, that makes a sound like Brian Blessed, just lying around the departure lounge.

Dung Chen

Dung Chen (7)

A violin from the 1770s

Following a tragic oversight, this centuries old instrument now resides in the Unclaimed Baggage Center Museum.

Violin 1770's

Violin 1770's (8)

A diamond

A ring, containing a 5.8-carat diamond, was found packed in a sock. Hopefully this particular escapade proved a valuable lesson for someone with one bare foot.

5.8 carat diamond ring

5.8 carat diamond ring (9)

A Barbie doll

Sounds innocent enough, but this particular doll had a secret. A woman bought the Barbie from the Unclaimed Baggage Center for her daughter. In a fit of…something…the girl then pulled the head off her Barbie, unleashing $500 in rolled-up notes.


Barbie (10)

Hoggle from “Labyrinth”

Yes, Hoggle. Another doll, this time slightly less attractive, and with apparently more fidelity issues. Hoggle is now a permanent part of the Unclaimed Baggage Center Museum.


Hoggle (11)

Ancient Egyptian artefacts

A decent hoard of objects, dating back to 1500 B.C., were left in a Gucci suitcase. Items included a mummified falcon and a shrunken head. Presumably too attractive a money-spinning opportunity, the artefacts were offloaded by Christie’s auction house in the ’80s.

Animal Mummies

Animal Mummies (12)

A naval guidance system

Clocking a value of about $250,000, this piece of equipment was never claimed by its careless owners, but was returned to the Navy by the friendly people at the Unclaimed Baggage Center.

Naval guidance system

Naval guidance system (13)

A camera for a NASA space shuttle

I hate it when I leave my space camera behind….it’s a good thing there’s lovely people at the Unclaimed Baggage Center to return expensive items like this back to NASA.

NASA camera

NASA camera (14)

What a hoot. And as a special bonus, here’s an additional list of ten items left on London’s public transport system. If any of these items belong to you, you might be able to locate it here:

  1. A Samurai sword
  2. A prosthetic arm
  3. A coffin
  4. A stuffed fox
  5. A puffer fish
  6. A lawnmower
  7. A park bench
  8. World War 2 gas masks
  9. A home vasectomy kit
  10. A pair of breast implants

That’s all, folks; thanks for sticking around.

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About Michael

Arrogance, hostility, parsimony, rapacity, impatience; the five humours of the Englishman abroad are my most positive features and also my guide and solace through tribulations. I delight in coffee, cheese, and the music of Ray Charles, and you can catch me trying to form a queue anywhere from Centraal Station to Hoofddorpplein.

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