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There’s nothing worse than discovering after a long flight that you left an important item on the aircraft. Delta Air Lines partners with NetTracer, which handles lost-and-found items, to help reunite you with your possessions.
The most popular items lost on planes include smartphones and tablets, books, glasses, scarves, travel pillows, water bottles and passports, according to Business Traveler magazine. In a perfect world, you’ll notice you’re missing an item while you’re still at the gate.
This allows you to start the lost-and-found process quickly since planes are on the ground for around 30 minutes between flights. Give the Delta gate agent your seat number and ask if they or a crew member can check the plane for your lost item.
If the item isn’t on the plane, or you discovered it’s missing too late, the next stop is Delta’s customer service desk if you’re still in the secure area of the airport to file a claim. If you’ve cleared security but are still at the airport, then go to the airline’s baggage service for help and to file a claim.
Some passengers have had success using social media to track down their items. Most airlines, including Delta, have teams that oversee their social media accounts, so contacting them via an official Facebook page or Twitter account can also help. Delta can be reached on Twitter at @Delta or on Facebook.
Below is a screenshot of the website where you can start the investigation process for your lost item.
Sometimes you won’t discover something is lost until after you’ve left the airport. At that point, the process to reunite you with your item moves online. Travelers can go here to get started. You’ll be asked for a detailed description of the lost item, your contact and flight information and files or photos that can help in the investigation. Once submitted, Delta’s Lost & Found Central will send you a confirmation email.
Delta will send updates during the search process, which lasts for around 14 days. But it doesn’t hurt to call the local Delta station office just in case your item ends up in the airport’s lost-and-found office.
If Delta finds something that matches the description of your lost item, it will send an email with instructions on how to confirm the item is yours. If it doesn’t find the item, it will send an email letting you know.
What happens if the lost item or even luggage is never found? Delta, like other airlines, will sell those items to the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Ala., a 40,000-square-foot facility that resells them.
To avoid this fate, take steps that can help improve the odds of finding your lost item. Take photos of important items and keep a file of their serial numbers if available. Use apps such as Packing Pro or Packing List Checklist to create packing lists to keep track of everything you’re carrying.
If your item has space, slip a business card or contact information in it so you can be contacted. Use the tracking function for smartphones or tablets — Find My iPhone for iOS and Find My Device for Android — to help reunite you with them more quickly.
The sooner you report a lost item, the better your chances are to get it back. If you can’t make a quick claim right at the airport, fill out the online lost-and-found form as soon as you’re able.