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Ted S. Warren  /  AP
Reconnecting with your luggage at your destination can't be taken for granted. Keeping valuables and essentials in a carry-on bag can lessen the aggravation.
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updated 9/26/2011 4:53:37 PM ET 2011-09-26T20:53:37

According to a report by SITA, a company that collects information for airlines, carriers mishandled 12.07 pieces of luggage for every 1,000 passengers worldwide this year. Yet while it's statistically unlikely that your airline will lose your bag, it seems like every flier has had a lost luggage experience at one point in his or her travel career. Last week, we blogged about 3 high-tech luggage tags that will save your trip and invited readers to share their lost bag stories. In response, we received more than a hundred tales of woe — proof that suitcases lost by the airlines are, unfortunately, pretty common.

Below are five lost-luggage stories submitted by our readers.

Just picture the audience in their underwear
"I had gone to a national convention, where I was to receive an award in front of around 2,000. Of course, my luggage got lost. I arrived on a Sunday and could find no clothing stores in downtown Denver. I was so embarrassed to be standing on stage, in a T-shirt and jeans, among all the suits."
Gregory Ellis

Lobster and found
"My daughter in the Netherlands wanted to surprise our Dutch son-in-law with a true Maine lobster meal for his February birthday. So, as a Maine native living in Maine, I steamed lobsters, shelled them, 'ZZZZip-locked' the pieces, secured the tasty bodies and claws tightly between 'blue gel-packs,' and froze the units. On the morning of the overnight trip, the lobster packs went into a thermal picnic bag and stayed safely outside in the 'wicked cold' February weather.

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"All went well on the trip except for a fact we discovered at Schiphol Airport: The lobsters went to Paris while we went to Amsterdam! However, the thermal bag arrived about 36 hours later and all was well! The lobster was still frozen solid, and the son-in law had his birthday wish granted."
Agnes Dailey

Lightning struck twice
"Flying from Cleveland to Denver for a visit with friends, my luggage was lost. It was finally returned to me one week later, an hour before I was due to leave for the airport. Upon checking it in, I mentioned that it had been lost for a week and to please take good care of it. The reply: 'Oh, don't worry. Lightening never strikes twice.' As you can guess, it did strike again and the luggage was lost forever."
S J Foster

Bag and switch
"On the shuttle from the parking lot to the airport, an older man took my carry-on bag when getting off the shuttle heading to his car. I took his look-alike bag into the airport. Prior to check-in I opened my carry-on to get my ID out and was shocked to find a suitcase full of men's underwear! I had no itinerary, no identification, no meds, no money, no credit cards, and no munchie foods for my 7+ hour trip. The airport was three hours from my home, so there was no way to return home for the needed items. Luckily, the airline personnel asked me a bunch of security questions and let me on the plane. A pharmacy at my destination gave me a temp supply of medication, and the friend who was meeting me at my destination helped me out monetarily until we could get to a bank on Monday. The gentleman who took my bag called my contact info the next day and generously sent my bag to my parent's home. What a nightmare. … Now all of my bags are adorned with hideous ribbons and flowers tied to the handles."
Teresa

Snowed under
"I learned the hard way never to put my home address on the outside of my suitcase. I was on a three-month work assignment to China and my huge suitcase was lost. I had nothing when I arrived in China. Three months later, I arrived home to a suitcase covered with eight inches of snow."
Joan

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Photos: Unclaimed Baggage

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  1. Missing something?

    Unclaimed Baggage Center is a retail store located in Scottsboro, Ala. The store, which started about 40 years ago, purchases unclaimed bags and cargo and resells the items. The airlines make every effort to return luggage and most bags that end up in Scottsboro have no identification and no clues of the owner. The bags don't arrive at the center until three to four months after the travel date. (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Shoe shopping

    Lucas and Stewart Devries, from Scottsboro, Ala., stopped by UBC to make a video for their church group but couldn't help checking out what new sneakers had come in. (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Weighing his options

    Terry Meadows shops for a portable DVD player. UBC adds 7,000 items to its shelves each day, and over 1 million customers visit the 50,000-square-foot store each year. (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Time for lunch

    Moving clockwise, Christy Hoekenschnieder, 54 (back to camera), Mary Jean Moody, 22, Blair Hoekenschneider, 25, and Raily Parker, 27 (with her newborn daughter Mary Parker), take a lunch break at UBC. (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Turning a profit

    "I grew up shopping here," said event planner Miles Lyndsey, who drove three hours from Atlanta to look for a wedding dress for one of her clients. "Some of the same people still work here, only their prices have changed," she said. Lyndsey checks eBay on her iPhone for the price of a bag she found in the store. It's not a great deal this time, but she recently found a pair of Chanel shoes for $30 that she later sold online for $400. (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Wearing white

    A bride-to-be could find an outfit for her big day at UBC, such as this St. Tropez wedding dress selling for $140 ... (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Choo shoes

    ... These Jimmy Choo high-heeled shoes, selling for just over $100 ... (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Unclaimed bling

    ... And this 18-karat gold ring with a diamond ($15,000.99), offered in a set with a gold and diamond pendant ($12,500.99) on a 14-karat gold necklace ($528.99). (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Cover me!

    Pat West, 66, and Bonnie Seaburn, 68, browse for a cell phone case. UBC "purchases unclaimed baggage and cargo by the truckload," according to the store's website. (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Looking for a good read

    Jerry Herly from Hollywood, Ala., shops around for books. UBC stocks "more than 7,000 new and pre-owned items daily," according to its website, "stocked in easy-to-prowl departments." (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. After-school hangout

    "We come here like every day. There's not much to do in Scottsboro, so we come here if we're not at McDonald's," said high schooler Colin Lott, who tries on a green jacket while his friend Tyler Winiger takes pictures of him for Facebook. (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. The right stuff

    Brenda Cantrell, the director of marketing at UBC, shows off one of the more unusual items found at the store -- a stuffed Canada goose. (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Staying put

    No, the goose isn't for sale. (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Return shopper

    Linda Mckee from Huntsville, Ala., shops at UBC once a month. This trip, she found a cell phone charger for $2.06 -- the charger would have cost $30 at a cell phone store. McKee also ended up buying a jacket and pants, among other things. (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Cold-weather gear

    A customer browses UBC's collection of winter coats. The store was founded in 1970 by Doyle and Sue Owens as a part-time business, but "soon became a full-time venture," the store's website says. (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Feel the beat

    Often left behind on planes, iPods are abundant at UBC. Prices differ depending on models. (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Stars and stripes

    American-flag underpants will set a patriotic UBC customer back about 99 cents. (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Magic moment

    It's not just clothes, electronics and books for sale at Unclaimed Baggage Center -- there's sports memorabilia, too. This jersey, autographed by Magic Johnson, sells for $225.99. (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. All aboard!

    Not everything at UBC is up for grabs. A few items not for sale include this New York City conductor hat ... (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Sharp edge

    ... This handmade dagger ... (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Bullwinkle's nightmare

    ... And these giant moose antlers. Unclaimed Baggage Center is located in Scottsboro, Ala., and is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m., and is closed Sundays. (Chris Maluszynski / MOMENT for msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
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