Skip to main content
/travel
  Edition: U.S. | Arabic | Set Pref

Is this your lost luggage?

  • Story Highlights
  • Contents of your lost luggage could be published on the Internet for all to see
  • Luna Laboo buys bags at auction and photographs their contents
  • She's hoping to reunite travelers with their bags after airlines have failed
By Hilary Whiteman
CNN
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

LONDON, England (CNN) -- When one traveler packed a kinky nurse's uniform in her luggage, she had no reason to suspect a photo of it would end up on the Internet.

The contents of one passenger's bag includes a nurse's outfit, bikini and rain jacket.

The contents of one passenger's bag includes a nurse's outfit, bikini and rain jacket.

But there it is, in full color, on a new Web site called isthisyourluggage.

The Web site was started by Londoner Luna Laboo who admits her hobby of buying and photographing lost luggage is turning into an obsession.

"I'd gone along to buy one just out of curiosity and then I just couldn't stop buying them," she told CNN.

"It feels quite naughty. I guess it's like rifling through someone else's handbag or their wardrobe if you went around to their house. It's just something you're not usually allowed to do," she added. Photo Peek inside Laboo's lost luggage. Is it yours? »

Laboo's hobby started in March 2008 when she watched news reports of thousand of bags piling high at the problem-plagued opening of Heathrow's Terminal 5.

At the time it was estimated that more than 20,000 bags had been "lost" in the system. A spokesman for British Airways, the only airline which operates from Terminal 5, told CNN the vast majority of missing bags had since been returned to their owners.

Fact Box

• 32.8 million bags were delayed, damaged or pilfered worldwide in 2008
• The majority were returned in less than 48 hours
• 736,000 are still listed as missing
Source: SITA

BA says it makes every effort to reunite passengers with their luggage, but if they can't be found after 120 days, the bags are sent to auction.

There's no way of knowing if Laboo's bags were owned by BA passengers. By the time the bags are sold, there's very little evidence left of where they're from and to whom they might have belonged.

A BA spokesman says the airline purposely strips the bag of any clues to its former owner so personal information isn't sold on.

"We take away personal items -- like photographs or documentation -- which may actually be relevant to the bag or the owner but for some reason hasn't been able to trace the owner," he said.

What's left is the bag and items of clothing which Laboo says provide a fascinating insight into other people's lives and eccentricities. Like the girl Laboo imagines owned the non-descript black suitcase containing 11 pairs of odd, balled socks.

"Not a single sock matched even though they did have a matching pair. It kind of got me thinking, what was she thinking when she balled her socks?" Laboo said. Were they yours? Sound Off below

And like the man with the really, really dirty underwear. "They weren't soiled or anything, it was just over wear. They'd just been worn over and over again, for years." Sound familiar? Report their loss

Of the nurses outfit, Laboo said "it gives the impression that she's gone on a little bit of a naughty weekend away. But she's also got a waterproof jacket in there. So it's like, has she gone on an outward-bound weekend and decided that she wanted to make it a bit naughtier?" Is the uniform yours?

When she first starting buying bags -- she now has 11 -- Laboo didn't intend to parade their contents on the Internet. That came later when she realized how much they revealed about the person inside.

"The more you look through the cases and the more you see these people's personalities, you think 'this is their stuff and I've got it and I don't really have much of a right to have it.' And that's when I started to try and get it back to them."

Business Traveller
Each month CNN's Richard Quest equips frequent travelers with news and advice.

She created the Web site, inviting people to contact her if they recognize their belongings. So far she's had two phone calls, both from pranksters who've later admitted it was all a joke.

Still, she lives in hope. "I need people to look at the Web site, to then tell people about it and then find the owners," she said.

Laboo believes she'll know when the right people phone. "I don't hold any item of clothing back but I think I do have quite a good way of knowing if they are the person that they say they are."

"I guess just little things like where the clothes are from," she said before adding cryptically, "And then another one which I don't really want to tell you."

advertisement

The true owners won't be asked to pay anything more than the cost of postage to have their belongings returned.

Do you recognize any of the bags or their items? Claim them below

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print
Home  |  Asia  |  Europe  |  U.S.  |  World  |  World Business  |  Technology  |  Entertainment  |  World Sport  |  Travel
Podcasts  |  Blogs  |  CNN Mobile  |  RSS Feeds  |  Email Alerts  |  CNN Radio  |  Site Map
© 2009 Cable News Network. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.