Business travelers are fuelling a growing mountain of lost laptops at U.K.
airports which are increasingly being auctioned off as their owners fail to
Heathrow airport, the busiest international airport in the world, serves
millions of business travelers each month, many of whom travel with laptops,
but a member of the lost property team at Heathrow airport told Silicon.com
hundreds of those laptops end up being handed in each month.
And, as a result of airport chaos in the wake of heightened security last
month, that mountain of unclaimed laptops is now reaching record levels, we were
At Heathrow an average of around 120 laptops are handed in every month, of
which at least 15 or so will end up at auction.
The reasons for this are manifold. Most likely travellers may be boarding
flights out of the UK or they may mistakenly assume their laptop has been stolen
rather than lost, given the airport also plays host to "people who make their
living stealing bags off trolleys", according to our source. Similarly they may
prefer to report it stolen and claim on their insurance than hunt out lost
property and slow down their journey.
But if you realise you are suddenly travelling without your laptop there is
reason to be optimistic.
The Heathrow worker said: "Many people assume their laptop won't have been
handed in. Which is a shame because often they are here. We get brand new
laptops all the time and their owners just never turn up to collect them, so
after three months they are auctioned off."
And the mountain is growing all the time.
Referring to the security measures brought in after an alleged plot to blow
up a number of flights out of the UK was thwarted, the source said: "During the
bad times a couple of weeks ago the number of laptops being handed in
Typically it is security staff and not members of the public who hand in lost
luggage, the source added, saying the public tend to be more wary of unattended
bags at airports now.
Research out yesterday suggested 40 percent of all electronic devices lost
at U.K. airports go unclaimed, with mobile phones more likely to be left unclaimed
than laptops and PDAs.
Will Sturgeon of Silicon.com reported from London.