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Once Lost, Then Found

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

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It’s bound to happen. You pack your bags, check it twice, but somewhere between your home and final destination, you lost a thing or two. Could be something small or something large, but somehow it just disappeared.

In an average year (read: not during COVID-19), San Diego International Airport collects more than 15,000 personal items that have been turned into lost and found. What are the most common items turned into our Lost & Found you ask? Sunglasses, eyeglasses, belts, and cell phones. The most common items we return to their rightful owners? Cell phones and laptops.

Where do you think items are left behind the most? You probably guessed correctly, TSA checkpoints. This is for obvious reasons, TSA personnel are directing you, you are removing items from bags, rushed through a scanner, then you have to grab your things from a conveyor belt, reassemble yourself, then make your way to your gate. It’s easy to miss things in this whirlwind of an exercise. But of course, people also misplace things curbside, in parking lots, on rental car shuttle buses, in restaurants or retail shops, and in the gate areas.

If you have traveled through SAN and you've left something in one of the locations mentioned above, the first thing you should do is check our website to see if your item has been turned in. If you don't see it listed, you can file an online report here. Be sure to include as many details about the item as possible, this will help our Lost and Found team immensely.

Items are stored securely for 90 days before disposition. However, at this time only critical items are accepted by the Lost and Found office. Examples of critical items include government-issued IDs, passports, baggage, jewelry, medication, medical devices, high-end electronics, and legal documents. Items are returned to customers via FedEx on Mondays and Fridays at the expense of the property owner.

If you have lost items on an airplane, you will need to contact your airline, not the airport, to report your item missing. SAN also does not take in items lost in for-hire vehicles such as taxis and door-to-door shuttles, in public busses, or rental cars.

For more information, please visit our Lost and Found webpage.

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