Meet the company that sells your lost airplane luggage

The Hustle:

Imagine this: An airline loses your checked bag. After an extensive search, customer support comes up empty-handed. They compensate you and life goes on.

But life goes on for your suitcase, too. Written off as “unclaimed,” it sits in a musty collection depot for 3 months. Eventually, the airline sells it — along with hundreds of other lost suitcases and cargo shipments — to a private company, sight unseen.

The new owner cracks the lock, sifts through your former possessions, and marks them for sale.

A few days later, a retired mechanic named Charlie buys your grandfather’s watch for $150. A 19-year-old line cook acquires your Beats headphones. And a nurse from Florida becomes the proud new owner of the scarf your mom knitted you for Christmas.

This is the bizarre secondary market for lost luggage.

They also buy and resell the stuff people leave behind on planes. That means they bought and resold about a dozen books from me over the years.

I hope the new buyers enjoyed the books. Particularly the endings, which of course I never reached.

Mitch Wagner @MitchWagner