Have you ever gone through a TSA security checkpoint, thrown your loose change into one of those disgusting germ-ridden bins, and forgotten (or deliberately left) your change behind?
One certainly wouldn’t blame you. Coins are already disgusting enough without adding the bacteria from those trays to them.
However, with millions of people rolling through those pointless checkpoints each year, a little change can add up to a lot.
As in, almost $1 MILLION. All of which the Transportation Security Administration gets to keep for “projects it considers important for civil aviation security,” according to USA Today.
According to a new report from TSA, during fiscal year 2018 (Oct. 1, 2017-Sept. 30, 2018), travelers left $960,105.49 in the plastic bins at airport checkpoints around the country.
That’s $90,265.93 more than travelers left behind as inadvertent “tips” for TSA the previous year, $92,293.10 more than they forgot to pick up in fiscal year 2016, and it’s a whopping, $194,346.34 more than passengers left behind in fiscal year 2015.
According to CNBC, “The amount of change left behind by travelers at airports has been steadily climbing—jumping from about $489,000 in 2011 to almost $675,000 in 2014, and hitting $766,000 in 2015.”
That number went up to $867, 812.39 for TSA’s 2016 fiscal year and reached the latest total of $960,105 in 2018.
TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein says it’s not just change that’s left behind either. That money also includes bills left behind in unclaimed wallets.
Once the loose change is found, smaller airports send the money they collect to larger hub airports, which then rolls the change and deposits it to TSA, Farbstein said. The TSA keeps track of all the money that is being stored and transported, she said.
“If a TSA employee even takes a quarter or a dime, they would be fired,” she said. “There’s no excuse for that. It’s a matter of integrity.”
Naturally, the bigger the airport, the bigger windfall from money left in TSA security bins. Here are the top 10 airports where travelers left behind the most dough in 2018.
1. John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York): $72,392.74
2. Los Angeles International Airport: $71,748.83
3. Miami International Airport: $50,504.49
4. Chicago O’Hare International Airport: $49,597.23
5. Newark Liberty International Airport: $41,026.07
6. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: $36,707.99
7. San Francisco International Airport: $33,264.80
8. McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas): $33,038.23
9. Orlando International Airport: $32,687.10
10. Dulles International Airport (Washington, D.C.): $31,090.38