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How to claim the item you left behind at a TSA checkpoint in the N.Y. area

This diamond ring was found at a LaGuardia Airport checkpoint recently. (Photo courtesy of TSA.)

With 2 million travelers going through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints across the nation every day, it is inevitable that passengers will accidentally leave some of their personal items behind as they focus on catching their flights. Passengers can claim their lost items by contacting the TSA lost and found office at the airport where they departed.

To get the contact information for the TSA lost and found office at the airport you departed, visit TSA’s website’s Lost and Found page. Type in the airport name or code and the contact information will appear. Contact information for TSA’s lost and found offices in the New York City region are:

Newark-Liberty International Airport’s TSA Lost and Found (EWR): 908-787-0667

LaGuardia Airport’s TSA Lost and Found (LGA): 717-662-5043

John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Lost and Found (JFK): 718-917-3999

Individuals who left behind/lost items at an airport check-in counter, in the gate area, at restaurants, in shops, in restrooms and in other areas of the airport should contact the airport or the airline.

For items left behind at checkpoints, travelers should contact the TSA lost and found office and provide detailed information about the item including the date of the flight, the terminal that the passenger departed from, a very detailed description of the item, and a name and contact information for follow-up. If the item was turned into a TSA lost and found office, individuals can make an appointment to pick it up or arrange for the item to be shipped home or their destination at the traveler’s expense.

The most common items that people leave behind at TSA checkpoints include belts, glasses, keys, their identification (i.e. driver’s licenses, passports), mobile phones, laptops, jewelry, coats, sweaters, hats, scarves, gloves, neck pillows and umbrellas.

Here are five helpful tips to ensure travelers don’t leave their items at a checkpoint and to help ensure that lost items will be returned:

  1. After showing the TSA officer their ID and boarding pass, travelers should put their driver’s license back in their wallet or their passport back in a carry-on bag so is isn’t left behind in a bin.
  2. As travelers know, they must empty their pockets before they go through the checkpoint screening equipment. When emptying pockets, travelers should put those items into their carry-on bag so they are less likely to leave something in a bin when they leave the checkpoint.
  3. Don’t remove jewelry unless it is very bulky or if, from previous experience, an individual knows it will alarm the scanner. If a traveler does remove jewelry, it is best to place it directly into a carry-on bag instead of in a bin.
  4. Travelers should put an ID tag on their carry-on bags. Yes, sometimes people actually leave their entire carry-on bags at a checkpoint. Regardless of whether it’s a duffle bag, rolling suitcase, knapsack or tote bag, please put an ID tag on it.
  5. If someone is traveling with a laptop, it’s a good idea to tape a business card, return address label, or a hand-written name/address/contact information directly onto the laptop. TSA will contact the laptop’s owner to return it if contact information is affixed to the laptop.