Seatac airport sees a rise in lost items over the holiday weekend

Jun 1, 2022, 4:35 PM
Lead Officer Wesley Hornberger holds up an unclaimed stuffed rabbit inside the TSA Lost and Found d...
Lead Officer Wesley Hornberger holds up an unclaimed stuffed rabbit inside the TSA Lost and Found department Wednesday, January 19, 2022. (Photo by Tom Brenner for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Brenner for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

More than 500 items were lost at Sea-Tac Airport over Memorial Day weekend, according to Hallmark Aviation’s manager, Tele Paogofie. The Lost and Found office, located in baggage claim across from carousel 13, is filled with well-organized bins and shelves filled with what looked like over 100 cell phones, earbuds, laptops, strollers, diaper bags, keys, driver licenses, and anything else you can imagine losing at the airport.

“We have an organized, cataloged system with a storage life of thirty days,” Paogofie said.

After that, the items are transferred to the Port of Seattle and are designated to an organization of their choice, according to Paogofie.

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When asked what’s the strangest item lost, she said “I think it would be human ashes. It was a wife who lost her husband. It was stored in a lunch Tupperware with the death certificate on it and it had her number. So, we were able to call her, and she came back and picked it up.”

70 to 90 items are deposited in the lost and found on a typical day, 70% coming from TSA. When the item is turned in, it’s immediately documented. Hallmark Aviation uses a system software from Germany that requires every item to be cataloged with explicit detail. This detailed system helps clients reunite with their lost items.

Once you have realized that you have lost something, you can log onto their website and file a quick claim online, or if you have time, you can file a claim in person at their window or call (206) 787-5312.

“It’s typical for someone with a lost cell phone to call their phone and we answer and tell them that we have it. They usually run from the gate down to our office and we reunite them,” said Paogofie. “If you reach your destination, you can call us or file a report online. Once you file a report and we place the item in the system, it can take up to twenty hours for us to respond.”

Once an item has been cataloged and a person makes an inquiry, the system will notify Hallmark that there is a match, which is how items are generally returned.

“We do offer FedEx options at the owner’s expense,” said Paogofie. “So we have three return methods, you can pick it up in person with a storage life of 30 days. You can assign or delegate someone like a family member to pick it up for you, or we offer FedEx options.” The storage life of the item is free.

Hallmark offered some tips to ensure your items are returned in the event that they are lost:

  1. Add a medical ID number to your cell phone because it can be accessed even if your phone is locked.
  2. Register your luggage, laptop, or iPad with the company you bought it from because the serial number can be attached to your information.
  3. Place an In Case of Emergency (ICE) contact in your cell phone
  4. Save your item’s identifying serial number.
  5. Etch in an identifying number on your item.
  6. Take a picture of your item.
  7. Use a unique carrying case

All of these suggestions increase the odds of your property being returned.

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Seatac airport sees a rise in lost items over the holiday weekend