Airport Auctions

Airport Auctions
By:  Wes Wallace

Paducah, KY -- If you've traveled by airplane in the last few years, then you've probably experienced the long lines and extra security screenings.  So, what happens to all those items once a TSA screener confiscates that pocketknife, scissors, cigarette lighter, or other sharp object from you? Well it depends on where you live.
"We collect the prohibited items from Kentucky airports, as well as several in Florida and in Boston, says Jill Midkiff, a spokesperson for the Finance Cabinet, "Then we'll sell those items on E-bay or put them up for auction for other state agencies or to eligible donees."
That money goes to the general fund, and to help support the Division of Surplus Property. Midkiff says it's hard to put an exact dollar amount on how much is raised off the collected items, but says it's about $2500 a month.
"It's the first time the lighter situation has come up," says Keith Morris of Cardiff, Wales. "The lady told us we could leave it there (London, England) and pick it up on our return flight, but it wasn't worth very much, so we just told them to get rid of the thing."
Morris flew into the Barkley Regional Airport to visit his son in Paducah, the world traveler says he's left cigarette lighters and nail clippers in China and other items around the globe too. Morris agrees with the system Kentucky's adopted, "Rather than just throwing them away, you might as well put it to good use, if it goes to benefit Kentucky, well that's a good thing."
Some airports, including Barkley Regional offer a service to passengers who have to leave things behind. "All they do is fill out this envelope, put their item in it, and drop it in this box," explains Jackie Jones, the Marketing Director at the airport, "and we'll put it in a safe and keep it for them up to 30 days."
Cigarette lighters are a different story, they can't be sold or shipped off, so airports have to find a way to dispose of them properly.