Streamlining L&F: Why Airports Should Take Control of TSA’s Inventory

Losing personal belongings while traveling is a frustrating and stressful experience. It becomes even more aggravating when the process of reclaiming those lost items is complicated and fragmented. 

At many airports, the responsibility for Lost & Found items is divided between the airport and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), creating confusion, duplication, and costly inefficiencies for both parties. 

One of the primary reasons for consolidating Lost & Found items at airports is to simplify the claim process for passengers. When lost items are split between the airport and TSA, passengers may need to submit claims to multiple entities, often even involving a third entity: the airlines, if the item was left at a gate or on the aircraft, depending on that airline’s process for handling found items. This fragmentation often leads to confusion and frustration, as passengers are unsure where they lost their items and where to direct their inquiries, so they have to cast wide and get a claim across to every business that may have their lost item. 

The current broken system creates unnecessary duplication of efforts. TSA and the airport both expend resources on cataloging, storing, and managing lost items, which could be consolidated to streamline operations and reduce costs. Each company managing items has to pay for talent, benefits, storage, software to support their work, materials, and so much more. By consolidating Lost & Found management under the airport’s jurisdiction, these redundant efforts can be minimized, leading to more efficient resource allocation.

Airports are the first and last impression travelers have of a region, and their overall experience can significantly impact their perception, retention, and net-promoter score (NPS). Simplifying the Lost & Found process enhances the customer experience, demonstrating that the airport cares about the well-being of its passengers. A streamlined process helps build positive sentiment and contributes to passenger satisfaction, which leads to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth recommendations to continue to fly out of that airport. Airports must take this responsibility out of TSA’s hands because what does TSA have to lose for a poor Lost & Found experience? The reality is not much. An unhappy traveler will have to continue to pass through TSA no matter which airport you switch to. 

Consolidating all Lost & Found items under the management of airports is a logical step toward enhancing the overall customer experience and streamlining operations in travel. This approach simplifies the claim process, reduces duplicate efforts, and demonstrates the airport’s commitment to passenger well-being. It also provides airports with better tracking capabilities and resource optimization opportunities. By making this shift, airports can transform the frustrating reality of losing something into a more seamless and positive experience for travelers, ultimately benefiting all parties involved. 

With the rise of AirTags and Tiles, customers know where their item is, and they have new demands for businesses to return their items quickly. Airports must continue to respond to this change and take control of TSA’s inventory to make the process of reclaiming lost items as hassle-free as possible. Several airports have already successfully executed on this today, such as Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, as Boomerang partner that we featured in this recent case study on how they successfully absorbed TSA’s inventory in stride. 

To all airports not partnered with Boomerang, please get in touch with us: let’s make the customer experience magical for your passengers. 

Skyler Logsdon

CEO, Boomerang