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Dedicated investigation manager for every successful lost report. We work with more than 15000+ Airports & Airlines lost and found offices worldwide. Increase chance of locating your lost property TODAY.

Have your keys? Phone? Umbrella? A look at lost and found in airports, train stations

airport lost and found
airport lost and found

Did you forget something?

Got your wallet, purse, phone or diaper bag? Lose a glove? Credit card missing? Where’s your laptop?

If you were a traveler or explorer in the city over the holidays, you may have had unfortunate moments of absent-mindedness and are now a bag lighter and shielded against the cold by only one mitten. That’s why we recently asked local attractions, airports and transportation hubs to describe what items can commonly be found in their lost and found areas. And, more important, how to retrieve those items.
At the airports

airport lost and found

Number of laptops left at O’Hare International Airport checkpoints in 2015; Midway Airport reported 350 left behind.

An item left behind at the airport can be tricky to recover, because any number of entities could be responsible for handling a lost and found item.

Transportation Security Administration spokesman Michael McCarthy says a passenger can’t make enough calls to track down a lost item. “If a passenger misplaces an item but cannot recall where it was misplaced they should try to contact every entity from the hotel to the taxicab to the TSA to the airline,” he said recently in an email.

McCarthy notes that the most common items found at security checkpoints are laptops, driver’s licenses or other forms of identification, keys and clothing (type depending on the season).

“The best thing a passenger can do is to tape their contact information or a business card to their laptop or tablet. This greatly increases (their) chances of recovering an item as we can attempt to call the individual.”
— McCarthy, on how to prepare items for the TSA screening process

What’s the weirdest item McCarthy has seen in the TSA lost and found? “For my purposes, I always find it off to find the entire carry-on bag,” he said.

After 30 days: An unclaimed item is turned over to the Illinois Department of Central Management Services as surplus property, which could be auctioned. Items with an estimated worth of $500 or more are sent to TSA headquarters in Arlington, Va. Those items could be auctioned by the General Services Administration. Electronic devices that could contain sensitive material — including thumb drives, cellphones and laptops — are sent to TSA headquarters where they are wiped of content and then disposed of.
Who to contact
O’Hare airport lost and found

Near ticket counters, in gate areas or on an airplane: Contact the airline.
In the terminal’s public areas: Call Chicago police at 773-686-2385.
At security checkpoints: Call TSA at 773-377-1210, or on Twitter at @AskTSA. Administrative offices are in the Terminal 2 mezzanine.
On the Airport Transit System: Call O’Hare transit system at 773-601-1817.
In the airport’s parking lots: Call Standard Parking at 773-686-7532.
In a food service location: Call 773-686-6148.
Terminal 5 customs area: Call U.S. Customs at 773-894-2900.

Midway Airport lost and found

Near ticket counters, in gate areas or on an airplane: Contact the airline.
In the terminal’s public areas: Call the airport communication center at 773-838-0656.
At security checkpoints: Leave a message at 773-306-4201.
In the airport’s parking facilities: Call Standard Parking at 773-838-0753.
Customs area: Call 773-948-6330.

midway airport lost and found

Number of work IDs attached to retractable clips in the Union Station lost and found; there are about 50 retractable clips without work IDs.

Each day, 150,000 people travel on the rail system, which operates 11 lines. Each line has its own lost and found office, which houses items left on trains, in the stations or elsewhere on railroad property.

Metra representative Michael Gillis says it can sometimes take a day or so for an item to become available in a lost and found office. Commonly found items include cellphones, keys, work IDs — and umbrellas, when it’s raining.

Gillis says among the more memorable items Metra has collected are a prosthetic leg, false teeth, a bag of military medals, diabetic testing supplies, a purse with $800 (which was returned to its owner) and a cremation urn (which was also returned to its owner).
In Union Station’s lost and found

About 175: credit cards
About 125: keychains, many with multiple keys and/or fobs
About 45: smartphones
About 45: wallets
About 40: 10-ride tickets
About 40: jacket/sweaters
37: umbrellas
About 30: earphones/earpods
About 25: spiral notebooks or other notebooks
About 25: earrings/necklaces/bracelets
About 20: lunchboxes/lunch bags
About 20: books
About 20: Fitbits or other activities wristbands
15: monthly passes
About 15: one-way tickets
10: backpacks/briefcases
About 10: makeup/toiletry bags
8: travel coffee mugs
7: iPads/Kindles
6: passports
6: paintings/prints/photos
5.5 pairs: of shoes
4 boxes: hats, gloves and scarves
2: canes
1: bike helmet
1: bike seat post
1: computer monitor
1: yoga mat
1: box of diapers
1: selfie stick
1: mostly empty large suitcase
1: small desk fan
1: large wrench

“Someone once came looking for a cat. We didn’t have it.”
— Gillis, on an unusual lost and found request

After 90 days: Clothing is moved off-site and then eventually donated. Most other items are moved to a secure storage facility at Metra’s headquarters.
Who to contact

Chicago Union Station: 312-322-4269.
For BNSF, Heritage Corridor, SouthWest Service, Milwaukee North, Milwaukee West and North Central Service lines.
Ogilvie Transportation Center: 312-496-4751.
For all Union Pacific lines.
LaSalle Street Station: 312-322-8957.
For Rock Island Line.
Millennium Station: Chicago Transit Authority


Number of bikes in the lost and found at the Chicago Avenue bus garage as of January.

When you are responsible for transporting more than 1.5 million people each day by bus and rail, then it’s common for things to get left behind, says CTA spokeskman Jeff Tolman. He notes that these items, however, vary by the mode of transportation. Bikes and groceries are left behind on buses, while riders in rail cars tend to leave Ventra cards, clothing, cellphones and umbrellas.

Nonperishable items are logged and held in terminals and bus stations designated by their routes. Depending on where an item is found, it could be first transported to an overnight storage area.

Unusual items that have been found include enough instruments to start a band — including a trombone, clarinet, saxophone, drumstick sets and flute. Once an urn with ashes was found, but it was quickly reunited with its owner. Tolman also pointed to an Associated Press story from May 1975, which reports that a parakeet was found in a paper bag on a bus. CTA officials fed it, named it “Mike” and kept it for four years before giving it away.

After 30 days: Items are either disposed of or donated.

After 60 days: High-value items, such as cellphones and laptops, are held longer but are then disposed of or donated.
Who to contact

Lost items found on CTA buses or trains or at CTA stations are sent to the bus garages or th specific bus routes, rail lines ong>


Number of single gloves or mittens in lost and found as of December.

Public relations director Sharon Dewar notes that not much weird stuff shows up in the zoo’s lost and found. She says the most common items are keys, glasses and single gloves. Valuables are logged and kept in a secured cabinet. Other items recently found include four scarves, three school bags, one set of keys and eight credit or identification cards.

After 30 days:carded or destroyed.


Number of pairs of sunglasses in the lost and found as of December.

Thirty-one bins, one for each day in a month, house items found each day at the popular tourist destination, which is home to 32,000 animals. Items commonly found include strollers, umbrellas, sunglasses, sippy cups and winter weather apparel (hats, scarves and gloves).

Mick Swasko, the aquarium’s communications and public relations coordinator, says the weirdest item currently in the lost and found is an air mattress, which he thinks was probably used for one of the Shedd’s overnight events.

After 24 hours: Found credit cards are shredded.

After 15 days: Most items are moved to a donation box. Found cash is sent to the aquarium’s accounting department, and cell phones are either donated or recycled.

Lost something at Airport or in a flight? Click here to report online

Dedicated investigation manager for every successful lost report. We work with more than 15000+ Airports & Airlines lost and found offices worldwide. Increase chance of locating your lost property TODAY.

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