TSA collected $400,000 in spare change left by passengers in airports in 2011

Airline passengers left more than $400,000 at airport security checkpoints operated by the Transportation Security Administration in 2011.

TSA found $409,085.56 in spare change last year that was unclaimed by passengers, according to figures released by the agency. Historically, if no one comes back to get the leftover money, it stays with the TSA.

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A Florida lawmaker is trying to change that, however: Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) filed a bill in April of 2009 that would require TSA to transfer money that is not claimed by passengers when they leave airport security checkpoints to United Service Organizations.

Miller said Thursday in a statement provided to The Hill that the amount of change left at airport security checkpoints in 2011 could be put to better uses than the TSA’s operating budget.

“TSA keeps travelers change accidentally left at checkpoints as an appropriations backfill for agency activities,” Miller said. “There is no incentive for TSA to try to return the forgotten change to its rightful owner.

“The amount of money left behind really surprised me -- $400,000 annually is nothing to sneeze at,” he continued. “Travelers’ lost change should be put to good use, and there is no better organization to use this money wisely than the United Service Organizations.”


The airports where passengers left the most spare change were New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, where $46,918.06 was found, and Los Angeles International Airport, which collected $19,110.83.

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and San Francisco and Miami International airports, which saw $16,523.83, $15,908.02 and $15,844.83 left behind respectively, rounded out the top five.

Washington’s Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport collected $2,502.83 and $13,945.18.