I lost my car keys in the airport
November 18, 2007 10:10 PM   Subscribe

Lost my car keys in an airport somewhere. What do I do now?!

While flying out this morning, I lost my car keys somewhere. I went through security in one airport, transferred at another (no security check), and went through security in the last airport. After boarding the plane in the last airport I realized I didn't have the keys.

I am calling the lost and found of every airport I was in. Assuming the worst case scenario that nobody has found the keys, what do I do? It will be late (11PM) when I get back, and the car is parked in the airport's long-term parking lot. Can locksmiths get into cars and start them up, in airports what's more? What happens if the car stalls out and I need to start it up again for whatever reason?

The keys are the traditional kind; no transmitter things or remotes on them. The worst thing is that it's A key, with no keychains or identifying things attached.

Thanks a bunch.
posted by pravit to Grab Bag (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you in the US? Do you have AAA or equivalent auto club membership?
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:15 PM on November 18, 2007

What kind of car is it?
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:16 PM on November 18, 2007

Response by poster: No AAA membership. 2003 Ford Ranger.

Lost and found offices are closed now, so I have to wait until tomorrow.

All of the vehicle registration stuff is located inside the car.
posted by pravit at 10:30 PM on November 18, 2007

My fiancé joined AAA from the side of the road next to her stalled car. They were very nice and charged the same as if she'd joined months ago at one of their office locations. Call them first.
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 10:41 PM on November 18, 2007

A word of caution:
Some keys that seem like the normal kind have a little RFID chip in the plastic bit that makes getting a repacement rediculously hard. Like $200+ after getting it towed to the dealership hard.
posted by daniel striped tiger at 10:42 PM on November 18, 2007

My inclination would be this:
1. Wait til you arrive in airport, then go talk to security/info desk of airport and see if anybody who works there can fix this for you. There's an off chance they might be able to. I'm sure you're not the first person they've seen in this situation.

2. Failing that, call a locksmith on the ground at your destination and ask if they can do what you need. Ask how much it would be and figure out if it's worth it to join AAA on the spot.

3. Maybe join AAA on the spot.

4. If you get in too late for all this to be worth it, take a cab home or phone a friend, and then come back to sort it all out the next day.

Good luck!
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:16 PM on November 18, 2007

First, go though every single bag and pocket. I can't tell you how many times I've thought I've lost something only to find it when I really hunted in my suitcase. You've probably already done that, but if you haven't do that now.

Do you have a spare set of car keys at home? Do you or does anyone else have keys to your house? If so, go home and get the spare car keys.

Otherwise, go stay with friend for the night and deal with it the next day. It's going to be an incredible hassle to deal with the car/locksmith when you're tired, cold and schlepping suitcases.

If the keys are truly gone, call your auto dealer. They may be able to make you a spare key.
posted by 26.2 at 11:47 PM on November 18, 2007

Yep. A locksmith can re-key car locks and ignition, unless the key includes an RFID chip. This is generally anywhere from $75 to $150 depending on who you call or if you have something like AAA.

If your car has OnStar and you subscribe to their service, you want to give them a call. They can unlock your doors for you and may have suggestions from there.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 12:10 AM on November 19, 2007

Do you have time to FedEx a copy of the keys to where you are staying?
posted by bottlebrushtree at 12:11 AM on November 19, 2007

Call your dealer (assuming you bought it at one) if you have time. You may be able to get a spare. Probably a pain in the but as you don't know the VIN or anything else off the top of your head that would prove you're the owner, but if you can convince them they might be able to help you...and, as bottlebrushtree suggests, rush deliver you a copy.

I did this once, and didn't think that far ahead--I taxied to a cheap motel overnight, and rented a car in the morning to drive home, get let into my apartment, get my spare keys, drive back to the airport and retreive my car.
posted by stevis23 at 5:37 AM on November 19, 2007

I, too, have called AAA on the side of the road with a shredded tire and joined on the spot. If you don't have a spare key or you don't have a good way to get one before you return to your vehicle, AAA might be a good option. If you don't want them to open and start the car, they can at least tow it to your home. (which, hopefully, you have keys to!)
posted by bedhead at 5:45 AM on November 19, 2007

Is there any possibility that you left your key in the car?
If you bought the car new, contact the dealer. They may be able to provide you with the key code to have a brand new key made outright. You'll probably pay an arm and a leg, but the nearest Ford dealer may be able to hook you up with a replacement.
posted by enfa at 7:37 AM on November 19, 2007

Even if you didn't buy the car new, contact a dealer, especially if you bought it at one. What you are looking for is a key to be made for a car with a specific VIN. Any Ford dealer should be able to do that. If you've ever been to a dealer with that vehicle, they should have your VIN and can make a key for you.

If you've never been to a dealer, call your insurance agent who also will have your VIN, then call the dealer and explain the situation.
posted by Doohickie at 7:55 AM on November 19, 2007

Might it be easier to get someone to bring you an extra copy from your house, presuming you have an extra copy?
posted by YoungAmerican at 8:18 AM on November 19, 2007

The keys for a 2003 Ford Ranger do have an RFID chip, complicating matters as explained above.
posted by zsazsa at 9:49 AM on November 19, 2007

Response by poster: Followup:

I thought back to when I last had the key and remembered placing it on the truck bed cover while I unloaded stuff. Having locked the doors, I noticed the shuttle bus to the airport coming (the long distance parking is far away) and hurriedly ran to catch it. But could I have really been so stupid as to leave the key to the truck RIGHT on the truck?

Assuming the worst possible case, I called the airport police about 20 times last night. They agreed to go out and look for the key(I explained it was probably on the truck and gave an exact description of its appearance and location), but found nothing. When I asked if they had at least seen the truck itself, they responded that they might not have. I spent a sleepless night obsessing over the theft of my truck, going to sleep only after convincing myself there was no way I could have been stupid enough to leave the key on the truck.

Called again this morning, they went out to look, nothing came out of it. Called again after my site visit, nothing. Called again just now, and the guy begrudgingly obliged to go out and look to see if my truck was still there or not.

Not only was the truck still there, HE FOUND THE KEY! In the exact spot I had feared leaving it.

So, I guess the moral of the story is:
1) put keys on a keychain (the truck was BORROWED, which made it that much more scary)
2) dont ride the shuttle bus from parking, walk
3) be persistent!

Thanks for all your suggestions, everyone!
posted by pravit at 5:48 PM on November 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: So, if anyone is still reading, here's the piggyback question:

What thank-you gift is procurable at Albertson's or Wal-Mart, can be taken through airport security, and would be appreciated by airport cops without being seen as weird/a bribe? I thought of one of those sausage and cheese gift packs, but they all come with a little knife inside.
posted by pravit at 7:51 PM on November 19, 2007

A sealed tin of cookies? They should probably have Christmas stuff out, including those tins of assorted cookies. If there's a plastic seal around the edge, they won't have to worry about whether it's ok to take food from you. Whatever you get, if it's food you want to be sure it's obviously sealed and tamper-proof. (I guess metal tins might be tricky in a take-on bag going through security; can you put in checked bag?)
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:01 PM on November 19, 2007

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