What happens to baggage left unattended at the airport?
“For security reasons, baggage left unattended will be removed and destroyed.” – This is the announcement travellers repeatedly hear at London’s Heathrow airport.
Some airports also make it known in the announcement that such baggage will be treated as suspicious: “Baggage and personal items should not be left unattended. Any unattended items found will be treated as suspicious.”
A piece of luggage at an airport is considered “unattended” when it is not by the owner or not looked after. In the world that we find ourselves today, airports have been the targets of terror attacks and as such airport security treats any unattended luggage with suspicion.
At the Heathrow Airport in London, bags that are left unattended are destroyed. Due to the repeated announcements informing travellers not to leave their bags unattended, it becomes obvious that only suspicious bags are still left unattended.
Some airports handle unattended luggage differently. Finland’s Helsinki Airport has a Lost & Found department that keeps unattended bags and delivers to their owners if they ever show up. This happens after several crucial details—including CCTV recordings—have been examined.
Unattended bags bring operations in Germany airports to a standstill. The abandoned bag is fenced in about 30meter radius, and no one is permitted in the fenced area until all security exercises are carried out. The German Police employ the services of robots to inspect and scan the bag for any explosives before they are picked up.
Always keep your bags and belongings with you at all times and never leave any of your items unattended. If you want to dispose of a bag for some reasons, do it properly as leaving the bag anywhere would trigger security concerns which could affect airport operations.