By Jim Donovan

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you travel by air, you know the drill. The plane pulls up to the gate, seat belts unlatch, and the exiting frenzy begins. But in that chaos, items can easily be left behind. Each year, airlines collect thousands of iPods, tablets and other electronic devices that have been forgotten on planes. 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan has some advice on how to get them back.

They say that half the fun is getting there, and while that may be the case, you also want to get there with all of your stuff!

After you’re crammed in an airplane’s middle seat for hours, your thoughts are usually on a quick exit, and that’s why iPods, iPads, tablets, e-readers and other electronic devices can get left behind.

With planes making faster turnarounds, is there any hope of getting them back? Travel expert George Hobica, of, says the first step takes place before takeoff. He says, “Label your camera, your iPhone, your computers, your iPads; that’s your first step. At least it gives you a fighting chance of getting stuff back.”

If you remember a lost item just after landing, head right back to the agent at your gate. If you’ve just left the airport, do a u-turn and visit the airline baggage office since calls can often go unanswered. Finally, if you realize the loss a few days later, your chances get slimmer, but the airline’s website should have lost-and-found instructions.

Another key spot where air travelers lose things is the security checkpoint. If you leave an item behind at a security checkpoint, contact the airport TSA office or airport lost-and-found department.

By the way, don’t stick devices in the seatback pockets. They can slip out of sight, and you don’t know what else has been in there before. According to Hobica, “It’s also very icky inside the seatback pocket. That’s another good reason for not using it. Keep all devices in one place and in one pocket in your carry-on bag for example.”

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