I left my Bose headphones at the hotel… and they found them!

I consider travel to be an absolute black hole when it comes to losing stuff. If I leave something in a hotel or on a plane, I fully expect to never see it again.

The good news is that I’m relatively organized, and despite spending half of my time in hotels and in the air, I don’t remember the last time I lost anything (other than my sanity). I have a very specific place I put everything in my laptop bag, and as a result if something is missing it’s very easy for me to tell. Even when I’m at home all that stuff stays in my laptop bag, since I rarely unpack, and it’s the only way I’ll know where everything is.

On Thursday shortly after takeoff on my Boston to Miami flight I had one of those “oh crap” moments, as I reached into my laptop bag and saw that my Bose headphones were missing. I wasn’t actually sure the last time I had seen the headphones. I hadn’t taken them out on my Aer Lingus flight so I assumed they had to be at the InterContinental Boston (where I spent the night), though I also feared they could be back in Ireland.

So when I landed in Miami I called the hotel and they connected me to security. Security sent someone up to the room to search for the headphones, though didn’t find them. I figured as much.

A couple of hours later I got a call from the same person in security saying that the housekeeper had finally turned the headphones in, and that she did so at the end of her shift instead of after cleaning the room. I found that strange (does anyone know what the procedure is for housekeepers when they find something — are they supposed to turn it in right away or at the end of their shift?), though I was thrilled and shocked at the same time that the headphones were found.

The guy at security took my credit card information so they could be sent via Fedex the following morning.

So maybe I’m unnecessarily pessimistic when it comes to recovering things from hotels or planes. If you’ve left something behind at a hotel or on a plane, have you had luck recovering it?

Filed Under: Hotels, Priority Club
  1. Years ago, I was working in Philadelpia on a programming job. I was supposed to finish by Friday, but managed to get done by Thursday, although too late to catch a flight home. The next morning, I packed hurriedly.

    When I got home, I discovered I was minus one brown wing-tip shoe. I didn’t like those shoes, so it didn’t bother me.

    I had a bad habit of leaving shoes at different places in the house. Our cleaning lady used to pick up after me on her weekly visit. Of course, there was this one shoe, whose mate was in Philadelphia. The poor lady searched all over and left me a note saying she was sorry she hadn’t found the other one.

    That did bother me.

  2. Two weeks ago my Mom left all her hanging clothes in her hotel closet and they sent them home for free. Can you really imagine forgetting to pack your clothes???

  3. I can relate. A few years ago, I too was on a plane when I realized I left my headphones in the hotel. I called the hotel – the Affinia Manhattan – when I landed, and the housekeeper had already turned my Sennheisers in. I was heading back to Manhattan a week or two later, so they just held them for me and I picked them up in person.

  4. I left my laptop, case and accessories in my room at the NYC Helmsly Palace. I realized it at the airport, called Hotel security, they got it from the room and shipped it to my home. All was there, even the small amount of cash that I used for airplane food.

  5. I am guilty of leaving things. I left an iPad at The Hotel in Las Vegas. They sent someone to the room and retrieved it for me and then shipped it. On a particularly sleepy morning I somehow left my rollerboard in Terminal D in Ft Lauderdale Airport. After three calls over a week to Lost and Found they found it with everything in it. I paid to ship it back.

    I also lost my iPad at LAX. I sent a message to it using my “lost my iPhone” app with my name and an offer of a reward. I received a call thirty minutes later and arranged to pay the reward and get it back.

    I am incredibly lucky and it goes to show that there are a lot of honest and helpful people in the travel business.

  6. Perhaps the housekeepers shift ended after cleaning several rooms. If people do often forget personal belongings in their rooms, imagine having to these in every time they found something. Its more efficient to wait until the end of their shift. I’m not sure what standard practice is, but this is what I would probably do.

  7. @elsie Some people get nervous when traveling (and most everyone a bit distracted) so I could easily imagine forgetting something in a closet esp if it didn’t take up a lot of your suitcase.

  8. I do remember a WSJ article about things left in hotel rooms that said hotels won’t call about or send left behind articles unless you call them first. Consider the case of the wrong size or gender underwear coming from a city you weren’t in.

  9. I’ve had stuff taken out of a rental car within moments of me realizing I’ve forgot to take it out. As in, I had not even walked out of the parking garage yet.

    I’ve left a pillow, twice, at a hotel, that were shipped back. One time free, the other COD.

  10. I’ve left my Macbook Air on AA flights three different times (always on redeyes) and each time an AA employee found it and got it back to me.

  11. I left my company keycard at the Sheraton once, having used it to keep the lights on. Called the hotel next day, but no luck. Revenge? 🙂

  12. I travel about 70% of the time and often only 1 night at a hotel until off to the next city and hotel. This means a lot of going through a suitcase and laundry piling up in a suitcase etc. I have left the following items along the way, laptop power cords, paperwork/file and a suit (I forgot I hung it in the closet where I would be able to pack it last). All were returned from various hilton’s around the country FOC (diamond status and a prompt call probably don’t hurt).

    I did leave a hat at a small inn in England. I know exactly where I left it as I saw it as the door locked behind me and I was on my way to the airport early before any staff was around. Amazingly they couldn’t find it. I was a little p-o’d as I spend about 5 weeks there a year. I even asked the next time I was there and they said any items left behind are just thrown away. Total crap but now I make sure to look 3 times before I leave.

  13. you sound like a jackass. she found the headphones for you. big deal if it was at the end of the her shift rather than at the beginning. they are working you know. what a dipshit

  14. @ Chaz,

    I wonder how you think YOU sounded in the comment above? Something to consider – someone else’s perceived screw up does not entitle you to be (fill in the blank with how you think you sounded.)

  15. Left my iPad in hotel in southern Chile last year. They found it and mailed to me in Texas via regular Chilean post – couldn’t even track it. 5 weeks later it showed up in my regular mail! (I had already bought a new one). Gotta love the Hotel Torres in Patagonia- they didn’t even charge me!

  16. I left my $200 sunglasses in a rental car and Hertz sent them back to me. They took my cc for FedEx too but never actually charged me.

    One time before I left my GPS in a rental. Never saw it again.

  17. I hesitate to admit this because it’s mockworthy, but late last year my MacBook Pro died when I was on the road and (since I was planning to pick up a replacement in six months anyway) I bought a MacBook Air.

    Travelling home with two laptops, I managed to forget to pick up the old one from the security belt. Ooooops. In my defence, I was on a short intl-dom connection through Brisbane in Australia, where the domestic and international terminals are on opposite sides of the airport, and I’d just spent 15 minutes standing out in the humidity waiting for a bus.

    Fortunately airport security handed it in to my airline and it was couriered to Melbourne, where I was staying, for about $80. Moral of the story? Don’t travel with two laptops.

  18. This post inspired me to put address tags on my electronics. Now I just hope that the hotel staff understand that “property of Bart Simpson” is really just my ironic way of saying that stuff belongs to me.

  19. Left my sweaty gym clothes behind in my room at the Sheraton Sukomvit in Bangkok,, never even realised,, until I checked in a year later again,, and 15min after I got to my room someone knocks on my door: housekeeping, with my stuff washed and neatly packed… They earned their tip!

  20. I left my lap top in a small hotel near the mouth of the Red River Delta, VN. About an hour out we got a call that one had been found. A member of the hotel staff jumped in a cab to catch our bus and brought it to me personally. I was very glad to pay for her cab and tip her well for her kindness.

  21. So now you’ll never see your headphones again AND will get fraudulent charges on your CC! Seriously, though, I hope it turns out to be a successful return. With the cleaning lady, I bet when they find stuff in rooms they just toss them on their cleaning cart until they’re done and put the cart away and then turn in everything (they don’t want).

  22. I left once my rolex watch at klm lounge at schiphol airport in the shower,well you cant believe it,i was surprised when my name was annonced in the plane before departure,yes the cleaning guy (from ghana) found the watch,took it to the lounge reception and the lady traced me as you have to leave your boarding pass before having the shower key,when she made a call at the lounge and no one responded, she decided to dispatch it direct to the plane.

  23. I would think the end of the shift would be pretty standard. People often leave things and expecting someone to drop everything just to turn it in isn’t very efficient.

  24. I have to assume you’re grateful to the hotel and their staff for finding and returning your property. But, your post doesn’t actually say anything about relief, gratitude, etc. That’s probably why Chaz commented the way he did…

  25. @ rich — The reason I was surprised is simply because those carts are unattended for long periods of time, so I can’t imagine it would make sense to just leave electronics sitting on them in hotel hallways all day long. I guess I’m wondering where they draw the line. If it’s a laptop would they just leave it on the cart as well?

    @ AS — Sorry if it didn’t come across that way. “Thrilled” was supposed to equate to being thankful/pleasantly surprised, though I should have explicitly said it.

  26. @Andy
    My wife left a fleece jacket on the back of the desk chair at the Hyatt Harborside BOS. It had a logo from a one time sporting event that had some sentimental value. In spite of calling within an hour of checking out she was told housekeeping did not find anything in the room. If we leave anything, we don’t expect to see it again so we try to check two or three times – but still occasionally leave things in the fridge.

  27. I recently left my iPad on an American Eagle plane in the seat back pocket. They called the next day to let me know they had it! Kudos American Eagle for honesty! I was really happy to get it back.

  28. Some ten years ago I left a modest amount of clothing in a very modest Seattle hotel, where I’d been a semi-regular for several years. I did not discover MY error until reaching home about three days later. When I called the hotel, the familiar desk agent said, “…we wondered when we would hear from you. WOUld you like us to send your things or have them laundered and hold them here for your next visit?” I asked that they be sent and explained that I was in no rush. There was no discussion of cost. The next afternoon my things arrived via FedEx. On my next visit, when I offered to reimburse their cost, the clerk said “Don’t worry about it. Please keep us in mind for your next visit.” While modest, the place suits my needs and I continue to stay with them 4-5 times a year. Nuff said.

  29. I think most hotels have a turnaround time established for maids and staff to flip the room for the next guest, which is why they probably don’t turn things in until the end of their shift.

  30. I don’t think it is any of your business when/how the housekeeping staff turn in your expensive electronics that you left behind.

    I’d like to see you clean hotel rooms for a day.

  31. I was director of housekeeping for a 5 star hotel and it is standard operating procedure for a housekeeper is to turn in all lost items at the end of their shifts. People are always leaving things, otherwise the housekeeper would be going down 10 floors after finding anything. The only time we really would have them call the office and have an immediate pickup for a found item was if it was a large sum of money, jewelry, or something beyond the usual.

  32. My dad left 2 shirts in the closet and the hotel called the next day saying they found them. They shipped them to me Federal Express Next Day Air and charged my CC $74. That was more than the dang things cost in the first place!

  33. Bought a jacket at SEA, then forgot it on the plane. Didn’t realise it after I left the airport of my destination. Tried the airline lost and found and no luck. When I got home, I found out my credit card has a lost insurance. Filed a claim with them and got a cheque for the full amount a month later.

  34. Instead of “finding it strange” when the housekeeper turned in an item YOU forgot in your room, you instead should have been thinking how (or how much) you are going to be rewarding her. (rolleyes)

  35. I’ve been working i hotels for the past 15 years. The policy in most chains is to return items at the end of your shift. The only exception is for valuable items (jewelry, wallets/purses, laptops/tablets,phones). The housekeeper should contact the supervisor immediately so the item is retrieved and store in a safe place with security. Most hotels don’t contact guests for lost items, because of privacy issues/liability.A lot of people go to hotels to have affairs or shady business meetings and the hotel is not going to risk their reputation over an lost item.
    Even if Bose headphones can be pricey, for most of housekeeping staff a headphone is not considered valuable, that’s why it took a whole for her to report.
    I hope I can clarify your questions.

  36. I used to run the lost and found department at a 4.5* hotel and I’m with Tania, end of shift unless it is crazy valuable or there is a locked safe, then the attendant calls for a supervisor as a witness.
    You never call the guest to tell them that they left something, even once, it never goes well.
    We would mail regular snail mail for free or fedex with credit card or fedex account number. I’ve personally searched rooms mere moments after guests checked out and not found things they are sure are “beside the bed” or whatever but have also put countless laptop bags in towncars to the airport to try to catch up with a guest.

  37. @kate
    Kate you are right about NEVER calling the guest about lost and found.I heard stories about a hotel calling the guest at home and talking to the wife about lost items and the wife was taken by surprise because her husband was on business trip in Asia, not in NYC. Long story short. The marriage ended and the guest try to sue the hotel for breach of privacy and damages.Not sure how ended up in court, but several people got fired over probably shirt or a pair of pants. 🙂

  38. My wife left her engagement ring in the bathroom at the Rye Hilton. We realized it about 10 minutes after leaving and called the hotel. They had already found it and tried to contact us. A quick U-turn and we recovered it. 🙂


  39. Lucky, I once left my wallet with over a thousand dollars in cash in Berchesgarden intercontinental and got it back a day later with all the money.

  40. I’m a little late, but have two stories… although I can’t possibly beat the Bangkok gym clothes tale!

    I left four items in the seatback pocket of an AA flight from London: two hardback books, an iPhone & a nice set of Shure headphones. I realized it only after clearing customs & heading back through security for my connection. Frantic messages to AA, TSA, and DFW security generated silence and buck-passing. AA recovered the iPhone & ONE of the books within 24 hours and mailed them back free.

    Second story: I left my entire bag of electronics at security in Beijing because they re-ran them along with my pack & I was flustered. Still there 25 minutes later when I returned. I was… thrilled!

  41. Well, unfortunately I stayed on at Disney in Florida. I left 3 bags approximately $220 worth of items purchased at Disney as souveiners. I called less than 5 minutes after our shuttle was on the way to the airport. They returned the call in a few minutes said they had them took my information and never sent them back. I called numerous times a day until the “head of security for my particular hotel” called back and said he had never received a report until the day I spoke to him. I sent in my receipts and still nothing. My plan was to go every four years until my son was 12 or 16. I will never go to Disney again.

  42. One of my friends is the head of housekeeping at a Marriott, and he said that he’s made it protocol at his hotel for the maids to write a note of which room they found anything of value in and to return the notes and items after their shift. Because so many people leave stuff, it’s just easier for them to take the item, write down the room they found it in, and carry on instead of taking the time to find your manager, turn in the item, and go back to work, only to find another lost belonging 5 rooms later

  43. I’m also guilty for leaving things behind. Once an antique watch was left at St.Regis NYC and security called me even before I realized it was missing. They arranged to ship it to me at no cost. Very pleased with them, good guys there. My husband found our son’s Ipod through “find my iphone “app and a good samaritan shipped it back to us using our account refusing our reward at the same time. He admitted having the thought of keeping it for a second but thought about the same happening to his own son and did the right thing. A less fortunate experience happened on a major cruiseline, lost a diamond philipstein bracelet. ctcd them as I knew exactly where I left it. I guessed as much, no one turned it in.

  44. I left a brown leather coat and suit jacket in the hotel closet this past week. Called the hotel and they say it’s not there. They talked to the housekeeper and she said nothing was left! I am so bummed…what can I do?

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