Delta Airlines Lost & Found Guide (W/Steps to Recover Your Item) [2023]

Losing an item on a plane or in an airport can be a nightmare. I know this from personal experience.

But thankfully, airlines and airports have pretty sophisticated lost and found services. Many people are reunited with the lost items every day so if you lost something when flying Delta Airlines, don’t lose hope.

Below, I’ll outline all of the steps you can take to recover something lost on Delta Airlines including how to timely file a claim and how to optimize your chances of getting your item recovered.

I’ll give you specific guidance based on where you are in the course of your traveling journey since that could dictate how to best go about making a claim.

By the way, if you just want to file a clam online right now, you can jump to the article section here.

If you’ve just landed: get to the Delta Airlines gate

If the de-planing has started and you realize that you have a lost item while you are still on a Delta Airlines plane, then just try to be calm and search around your seat while everyone exits.

Eventually, as the passengers exit, a flight attendant will probably approach you to see what’s going on and you can let them know that you have a lost item.

They might be able to help search for you right there but depending on the flight schedule, you might also be ushered out quickly.

If you have already entered the airport from your arrival, and you realize that you have a lost item then you should try to go directly to the Delta arrival gate.

If there is a line for the gate agent, feel free to jump (politely) to the front of the line and just let the agent know that you have something urgent.

Let them know about your lost item and where you were seated and they might be able to get some crew members to help.

If nobody is attending at the desk then you might be able to catch crew members entering the terminal from the jet bridge.

Unless they have somewhere to promptly be, you’ll be surprised how helpful crew members can be in these type of situations.

Delta boarding gate

If you are past the sterile area

Every airport has a sterile area.

This is the part of the airport that is past security and it means that everyone wandering through those corridors has undergone some type of security screening.

Once you leave the sterile area, you cannot re-enter the sterile area unless you go back through security to make sure that you are in compliance with the TSA rules.

You should always see a sign marking the sterile area as you head towards the baggage claim section of the airport. (It might look like something from the image below.)

If you have already exited the sterile area then you’re not going to be able to get back to the gates unless somehow you were able to get through security which is unlikely as well.

Therefore, your best bet will be to locate a Delta Airlines help desk. Some airports, especially Delta hubs, may have a few Delta help desk’s located in different parts of the airport.

But most likely if you have already exited the sterile area, your best option will be to go to a Delta Airlines desk at baggage claim.

Typically these agents deal with lost luggage but on occasion they can also help you out for your personal lost items.

In one scenario, I recall a passenger who got an agent working the baggage claim desk to radio to agents sweeping the plane. They were soon reunited with their lost item at baggage claim which is one reason why I always recommend for people to give this method a try.

Related: Delta Air Lines Boarding Policy Guide

airport sterile area

If you left your item at the TSA Security Checkpoint

If you think that you may have left your items at the TSA security checkpoint then your priority should be to get in contact with the Lost and Found for TSA.

TSA has its own Lost and Found department at all US airports and you can find the contact details for the relevant one here.

This is a separate lost and found department that is distinct from Delta Airlines and from the airport.

If they don’t have any record of your item, then it’s possible that item could’ve been referred to the airport’s lost and found so don’t lose out all hope until you check with them.

Related: What Happens if Your Item Is Not Allowed Through TSA Security? Can You Get It Back?

security conveyor belt

If you lost your item in and around the airport facility

What about if you suspect that you left your item sitting around the airport terminal?

For example, maybe you were at ATL and you left your phone sitting on a bench somewhere in the airport? Or perhaps, you suspect that you may have left your last item in a bathroom at SLC or MSP.

If you think that you may have left your item somewhere in the airport then you want to check with the specific lost and found department at that airport.

Head to an information desk and ask them where the airport’s lost and found counter is and that will be the easiest way to find them.

Sometimes the lost and found works in partnership with the airport police so you might also find a desk where you’ll find the police.

Airports also will have a dedicated webpage for their lost and found.

You might be able to submit a claim or simply find an email or phone number that could be helpful. I always prefer to handle these things via email so that you have a paper trail of what went on in your discussion.

If you left something in a Delta Sky Club airport lounge then try to contact Delta ASAP. You could also contact the airport and see if they can transfer you to the lounge.

See if they can get you in touch with someone at the lounge and give them all the details you can such as what time you were in the lounge and where you were seated.

Related: Delta Airlines Baggage Fees Guide

Delta Lounge

If you have already left the airport

Okay, now let’s say that you have already left the airport. Maybe you were taking an Uber back to your hotel or you are already back home when you realize that you have a lost item.

If this happens to you then you can immediately call the airport or Delta (1-800-221-1212) and see if anything can be done.

But there’s a good chance that you’re going to have to just file your claim online in order to proceed with recovering your lost item.

How to file a Delta lost and found claim online

Like other airlines such as JetBlue, Delta Airlines utilizes nettracer to process lost and found claims.

To file a lost and found claim for Delta Airlines click here.

Make sure that you select you are looking for an item that was NOT lost in your checked baggage to begin your claim. Lost luggage involves a different process.

Filing the claim is a very simple three step process but you don’t want to rush through the steps because detail is as important as ever when resolving these claims.

Also, keep in mind that you really want to file a report within seven days of your item being lost to increase your odds of it getting recovered.

The first section is going to ask you to describe your item. You’ll select an appropriate category and provide details like the item color, case color, brand, model, and item size.

If you have the serial number on hand or some other type of unique ID number you definitely want to input it here.

Finally, there will be a box you can fill in that asks you to describe what makes your item unique.

Once again, think of anything that you can that could possibly allow your lost item to stand out such as any scratches, stickers, screen cracks, etc.

The more detail that you supply, the more your claim will catch the eye of someone working on your file which will likely increase the odds of it being found.

After you input all of your item information, you then need to input some contact details and also details related to your itineraries.

After you file your claim, you should receive a confirmation email about your claim. If for some reason it does not appear then be sure to check your spam box.

If they find an item that matches the description of your lost item, you will receive an email notification or a phone call with further instructions on what to do.

For example, they may ask you further questions to confirm that you are the true owner of the lost item.

In some cases, they might ask you to call your phone which is why it’s recommended to leave your call service activated on your phone for at least one week after you file your claim. (You may want to deactivate any associated data plans.)

If you can verify ownership then they will arrange for shipping the item to you and you will be responsible for paying for the shipping costs which can be paid with a credit card.

The search efforts will take place for approximately 30 days after they receive your lost item report.

If no item is ever recovered that matches your description then you should receive an email stating that they were unsuccessful and that the search is over for your item.

Items that are never recovered may be destroyed, sold, or donated. However, certain items like military IDs or passports get sent to places like the US Department of State.

Final word

Delta Airlines relies on one of the same Lost and Found services that other major airlines rely on. It’s a service that has helped thousands of people find their lost items.

While those services are helpful you can increase your odds of recovering your item by timely filing your report and providing the highest level of detail possible.

In many cases, you might also have to rely on a little bit of luck but if you follow the steps above you should maximize your recovery odds with Delta Airlines.


  1. We all love to complain about airlines but while on this topic I want to compliment American Airlines. In 1998 I left my (not very expensive Costco) jacket after deplaning in Dallas. I notified AA when I got to baggage claim and realized it was in the overhead bin. The next morning AA called me and told me the jacket had been picked up in Fort Lauderdale where my original plane continued to past DFW. My trip to Dallas was only a couple of days, and AA had the jacket waiting for me at the baggage office when I returned home to the West Coast. All at no charge.

  2. I misplaced a kindle device today, apparently leaving it in our aircraft, which arrived from from Dublin, Ireland, in Atlanta about 4:45, as we rushed for our connecting flight to Tallahassee, which left at about 5pm. I was sitting in first class, seat A2. What do you need to perhaps get it back, or check if it’s been turned in?

  3. I am very frustrated and disappointed with the lost and found dept of Delta. I set down my iphone 11 at the gate where we deplaned at Atlanta airport and forgot it. I was trying to get to my connecting flight in time. Right about then my husband called and got no answer. The girl at the Delta desk called him back and told him I left my phone and quickly they worked to try to get it to me. She pulled up my itinerary and saw the gate my flight was leaving from and she ran down, but it was too late. She goes back, calls my husband and tells him it was too late, but she looks up my itinerary again and sees I will be coming back through on my way home in 9 days. She tells my husband she will put my name on it and hold it, but then my husband heard another woman chime in and say, he has to make a claim and get a claim number, and they’re giving him the instructions on how to get to that, and in all of that he forgot to ask the girl her name, or what gate she was at if she was going to hold it for 9 days. My husband got off the phone with her and immediately filed a claim and got a claim number, now everything I read on Delta’s lost and found says the faster you make a claim, the more likely you are to get your item back. That’s not true. So now it’s over a month since I lost my iphone and i went back into the claim and wrote all of that info because i thought it would probably be easy for them to find the girl that was working at that desk where my flight deplaned, and the sooner they looked into it the more likely to find the girl and ask what she did with my phone, but no one wants to do that. I put down the specific details, and the serial number to my phone AND it has an adjustable pop socket on it. I have been in touch with Andrew at the Delta central processing lost and found almost immediately, but I’m not getting anything from him. As a matter of fact, he hasn’t answered my last email. I am starting to think that they keep things like iphones, and ipads, and things that are of value. It says that items that never get claimed, they sell them!! So I’m starting to think someone along the way decided to keep my phone. My phone wasn’t the brand new iphone 12, but it was a new iphone 11 that I had to order and I waited 7 weeks for that phone to come in. I only had that phone for 10-11 months. Maybe I need to make some real noise about this. Maybe I should write a blog about this! Maybe I should talk to someone at the News Journal and they can write a piece in the paper about this. Because I can’t be the only one having a hard time getting my item back from Delta when my husband spoke to a Delta employee that was holding and talking to him on my phone, and then it disappeared.

    1. Did you ever retrieve your iPhone ? I have the same problem. And my tracking gps shows it is at their lost and found! But they just don’t and won’t give or send it to me.

    2. I am convinced they keep whatever they want, either for themselves or to sell. It’s a failed system. Delta should look into it more closely, give their employees a better training and improve customer satisfaction. Shame on them.

  4. Thank you so much for this! I contemplated not even trying to recover my item in fear of disappointment that it was too late and/or not really knowing how/where to start. I’d left a hat I picked up from Disneyland at my Bachelorette Party. This article simply helped me go back to the gate. Even though I couldn’t remember the number, I started to retrace my steps of what I saw when I exited it. Thank you thank you!

  5. Indeed Lost & found service is disappointing, and I would be curious to see some hit recovery rate data for lost items.
    I left a piece of carry on luggage in an overhead bin, since due to lack of space it had to be placed in the overhead two seats back. Seven hours later it slipped my mind and only realized after having left the terminal. I filed a report the same day- 5 weeks later and nothing has turned up.

  6. I am so disappointed with DELTA lost and found. I was at the SLC lounge i left my FENDI SCARF, DIOR SUNGLASSES AND RED SWIMSUITE in a white paper bag on the bar. my husband is there right now and according to the people at the lounge they turn it in at the Delta baggage claim lost and found, i spoke to delta customer service, she contacted SLC lost and found and was told that the lounge did not turn it in. SLC lounge management please review the footage on 2/12/24 at 6pm-8pm who ever cleaned the plate should get my stuff and turn it in. Delta please take this kind of things seriously.

  7. I was very disappointed with Delta Airlines lost and found a few years back. I left a very expensive jacket in the aircraft’s luggage compartment, went back to the airport lost and found as instructed, and nobody could find it. I immediately filed a complaint but never recovered it. To this day I’m convinced one of the crew members or employees kept it.
    Yesterday, once again, I forgot a large book and two shopping bags in the compartment above my seat. The Delta staff at luggage claim tried to help me but the items were no longer in the aircraft when they got there. I had a connecting flight and could not wait any longer, so now I’m in process of filing another claim, but it’s probably too late to recover the items. For sure, somebody already took possession of what they liked.

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