Travelers leave $500,000 at airport checkpoints

Transportation Security Administration
Posted at 11:10 AM, Apr 15, 2013
and last updated 2014-07-14 12:13:44-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTXL) -- A penny here and a dime there has reportedly really added up for the national Transportation Security Administration.

USA Today reports TSA has collected more than half a million dollars last year in loose change left by travelers at security check points.

Transportation Security Administration released their Unclaimed Money at Airports survey recently.

Miami International Airport, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport each collected at least $22,000 in loose change. USA Today reports even smaller airports like those in Pensacola, Florida, Des Moines, Iowa and Reno, Nevada have collected at least $1,000 in loose change.

In the last three years, loose change had reportedly added up to nearly $1.4 million dollars for TSA. It's believe travelers who are in a rush through security just leave the change behind.

What travelers leave behind is reportedly later spent by TSA for various projects and operation expenses. USA Today reports that Republican Congressman Jeff Miller of Florida wants the money given to non-profit organizations instead.

A spokesman for TSA, David Castelveter, told the paper that only keep the coins after first trying to give it back to passengers.

"Actively seeking out a person who left behind loose change presents logistical challenges," Castelveter said. "To the extent we can return loose change, including bills, we do. There have been circumstances where our officers noticed that someone had left money behind, sought out that individual and returned it."

Passengers must file a claim within 60 days to recover money left at a TSA checkpoint, he said.

The Transportation Security Administration collected $1.43 million in loose change that travelers left at airport security checkpoints in fiscal years 2010, 2011 and 2012. Here are the 10 airports that collected the largest amounts:

  • New York (JFK): $112,384
  • Miami: $79,819
  • Los Angeles: $74,528
  • Las Vegas: $63,209
  • San Francisco: $61,692
  • Chicago (O'Hare): $60,633
  • Dallas/Fort Worth: $48,656
  • Washington (Dulles): $41,703
  • Atlanta: $38,235
  • New York (LaGuardia): $34,430