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What happens to an unattended suitcase at the airport?

Article published
2.8.2022 at 09:14
A passenger walking with luggage
Suitcases must not be left alone at the airport, even for a short period of time, as this may trigger a security alert.

You must have heard the announcements at the airport warning you not to leave your suitcase or personal belongings unattended.

Passengers should always be in visual contact with their luggage and other belongings and take good care of them. Unattended goods are considered to be a security risk at the airport, and, therefore, a bag left unattended, even for a short time, will trigger a security alert when it is detected by the airport staff.

Ari Kumara, Vice President / Security at Finavia, says that airport staff are instructed to report unattended bags to the security staff, who, in turn, work closely with the police.

“It's the duty of the police to maintain order and safety at the airport. Unattended bags can, therefore, be handled either by airport security staff, who have been trained to deal with these situations, or by the police.”

Unattended bags found every week

At Helsinki Airport, bags are most likely to be left unattended in areas outside airport security, Kumara says.

“People tend to leave their bags unattended in such places as restaurants, lounges and departure halls, when they leave their place to visit toilets or buy something.”

The statistics reveal that unattended bags are found several times a week.

“Too often,” Kumara says.

Strict safety inspection before taking to lost and found services

In some cases, baggage is returned to its owners. However, this can only be done after a number of important procedures, such as going through the surveillance camera recordings.

If the owner cannot be found, the unattended luggage will be delivered to the lost and found service located in the arrivals hall of Helsinki Airport, which is operated by Excess Baggage Company.

“Naturally, the luggage must pass strict checks and it must be declared safe before it can be brought to the lost and found.”

Kumara points out that it is best not to lose sight of your luggage at all, as it is not always possible to find the right owner.

“Keep your bags with you at all times. If you notice an unattended bag, do not touch it. Report this immediately to the airport staff.”

This article was first published on 28 May 2019.

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